Braves valued empty space more than they valued Jason Grilli

April 4, 2016 Atlanta - Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) reacts in dugout in the bottom of 9th inning during the home opener at Turner Field on Monday, April 4, 2016. Washington Nationals won 4-3 over the Atlanta Braves after an extra inning. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli pitched well last season until suffering a torn Achilles and wasn’t the same pitcher this season. (Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com)

The Braves are paying vagabond reliever Jason Grilli to just go away. It’s not nearly on the level of them paying Melvin (B.J.) Upton to just go away last season, but it’s sort of the same idea.

Grilli, who pretty good last season until suffering a torn Achilles in July, was traded to his ninth team, the Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday night. Grilli had little value on the trade market  with an ERA of 5.29. But Braves general manager John Coppolella was so motivated to get him off the roster and open more space for younger pitchers that it’s believed the team will pay most of the reliever’s remaining contract.

In return, they get a minor-league pitcher (Sean Ratcliffe) who was in extended spring training, which makes the second time in 20 days the Braves traded for a pitcher who hasn’t even been on a minor-league roster this season. They traded Jhoulys Chacin to the Los Angeles Angels on May 11 for Adam McCreery, who also was in extended spring training.

So next time somebody in the Braves’ front office says, “We’re trying to win this season,” remember that.

There is little financial gain to this deal for the Braves. Grilli’s salary is $3.5 million, with a club option for 2017. Under terms of the trade, it’s believed the Blue Jays are being asked to pay only the prorated portion of the major-league minimum and Grilli’s $250,000 buyout next year. The Braves pick up the balance, which is more than $2 million.

It’s not surprising the Braves would deal Grilli. He was expected to go before the trade deadline. But the fact they would make the move only 50 games into the season illustrates where they are in their “process.”

“What we’ve tried to do in a year like this is try to find out what we have with the young arms that we have here,” Coppolella said.

And on that note: What do the Braves have in Mallex Smith? He has become a watchable player in a watchable season. For more on Smith, click here.

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28 comments
rgpat
rgpat

Bring Kimbrell back. He was a true closer. The Braves need to get rid of Vizcaino as well. He blows more games by walking the first batter he faces and it goes downhill from there.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Uh....Base...ball.....has ...a ....been...a ....bery-bery...good...to me.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Good move by Braves as  Grilli  wouldn't  bring value in return.  Jeff ( Jeff is not the only one) is still mad about GM firing Fredi and Braves moving to Cobb County.. So look for more bad press about Braves in future.  When Braves start winning again we'll see who jumps back on the band wagon.. Go Braves! Go USA!

fez
fez

Grilli was a liability for the Braves in the 2016 season and I have no issue with sending him off to a contending team that wants him.

ZAZ
ZAZ

@fez I agree. It serves no real purpose by keeping him. Look at some of the young guys.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Fifty games into this season (15-35), was Grilli going to be any more valuable at the trading deadline? I doubt it,trading him opens another roster spot(Shae Simmons) for a younger pitcher to get innings.Jim Johnson will be the next to have his ticket punched and another younger pitcher will get his innings. If you believe in your rebuilding process continue making moves ,dumping older arms for younger ones seems to be the moving in the right direction. 

Who in the front office is talking about winning this season? It was over after the 4-17 start. The best that Braves fans can hope for is that Hart/Coppy continue to have more hits (Wisler, Mallex, Inciarte,Swanson, Folty, Blair) than misses (Olivera, Aybar,Swisher/Bourn) in the trades that have been made and the trades later this year. Although the Simmons trade for Aybar may still net the Braves a starting pitcher Newcomb or Ellis. This is a major rebuilding process ,if Hart/Coppy told the media and fans they could be competitive and rebuild at the same time well we should know better. By ending 2015 at (67-95) and starting 2016 at (15-35) this rebuild will continue throughout the 2017 season and into 2018.


DawgNole
DawgNole

@Buschleaguer: "If you believe in your rebuilding process continue making moves . . . ."

_________________

But who the hell that matters believes in this rebuilding process besides the startlingly incompetent ATL front office?!

The franchise's front-office types have been rebuilding for half a century. How many championships do they have to show for it?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DawgNole 

So in your opinion ,what should any sports team that does not win a championship do? 

Some Options for you to consider:

1. Fire the front office,they are all incompetent.

2. Replace all the players with all star free agents ,damn the cost.

3. Apply for the general manager or athletic director's job ,for your favorite Pro or college team.

4.Trust the people hired to rebuild your favorite sports team, through trades and the draft.


Whether we like the results or not #4 is the only option most sports fans have.

There may be another choice:

5a. In college football become a Bama fan

5b. in the NFL become a Patriot fan.

5c. In MLB in even years become a SF Giants fan.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I guess the Braves need to start teaching the pitchers to hit.  Usually, in High School, the best athlete on the field was their pitcher. and he could hit........What happens to him when he gets to pro ball? In the stats graphic, Jake Peavy was hitting .225(more than several Braves) and they pitched to him like he was just another out in the lineup.....Ooops!

E983
E983

It's a long process but sometimes I wonder.

Falcons63
Falcons63

I don't think the team was going to get anything of value for Grilli, be it pitcher or hitter.  I hope with the upcoming draft the Braves use the pick to get the best college hitter available regardless of position.

Bill72
Bill72

No problem with getting rid of Grilli but....another pitcher?  How about a bat?

Falcons63
Falcons63

Agree with JordanPace39 about the reasoning behind trading Grilli.  He was a bright spot for last years team.  Hope the best for him going forward.   That being said as Schultz level's his usual load of Braves criticism,  we should remember this move is in reality what most would see as the trade of an injured/spent reliever who has seen his better days. Weber can't be any worse and at least he is only 25yrs old.   I think the real intent of this move will be apparent when Shae Simmon's gets thru(hopefully!) his rehab assignment and will need a roster spot.   In the meantime there is plenty to criticize about the Braves... but is the trade of a soon to be 40yr old reliever with a 5.29 ERA... coming off an Achilles injury worth an entire column??  Must have really been a slow day in SchultzWorld.

JordanPace39
JordanPace39

@JeffSchultzAJC We also did right by Grilli by trading him to a contender & showed other vets we'll do the same in the future

TideDawg
TideDawg

Braves management is like Congress......They make deals that affect everyone but themselves. That said, this deal on Grilli really doesn't hurt anyone. They trade an over the hill player for one that may never reach the hill. That still doesn't hurt anyone. The money??? Liberty Media uses losses to their advantage. Selah

DrTruth
DrTruth

The days of us trading players like Teheran for prospects are over. We need to get better at the major league level. We would have to be overwhelmed to move Teheran,” Coppolella said.

That was just 3 DAYS ago.  Granted, Grilli is no Teheran at his age....But seriously?  Another pitching prospect?

What happened to "We need to get better at the major league level"?

Clearly Coppolella is in trouble.  He's overwhelmed.  The only thing he knows how to do is trade major league players for minor league players.  More of these trades coming.

Markakis for 2 pitching prospects.  Beckham for a pitching rehab.  AJ for a guy who knows a pitching prospect.  Ugly stuff coming up for the trading deadline talent dump.

Team WAR Values don't lie and the Braves have the least talent of any MLB team:

http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Team

Just watched Coppy in the post game show.  "We wanted to go with young pitching..."  So he trades Grilli for an 18th round pick out of the 2013 draft!  Someone needs to tell this guy the Braves only got ONE hit tonight in 9 innings.  They have no bats and this guy has no idea how to fix it.  Amazing....

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DrTruth 

The 18th round pick is not replacing Grilli. Weber has the spot for now and Shae Simmons will have the spot when he is ready. Both considerably younger than Grilli. The 18th round pick will be in A class ball ,Grilli was dumped ,the Braves will save $600K in the salary dump.As far as Trades at the deadline Beckham may be the only player with any trade value ,if he continues to hit. Markakis will be another salary dump, Braves will pay bulk of his future salary ,the more they pay the better the prospect they get in return. Really Julio Teheran is the only trade piece that will return a MLB player or players in return. Hart/Coppy may just gamble and hope Julio continues to pitch well ,and get more for him at the trade deadline.

As far as worrying about fixing the roster in 2016, it is a little late for that 15-35 is beyond any hope of correcting this year. Hart/Coppy will continue to collect young arms in the draft and try to add position players through the International player pool. But it will be the 2nd half of 2017 before the Braves will have any chance to be a .500 MLB club.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Buschleaguer Pretty sure I said Grilli was traded for "another pitching prospect".  I'm under no illusions that Ratcliffe will be joining the major league team any time soon.


Of course Hart/Coppy will gamble.  It's what they do.  It's like playing the lottery for them.  They're consumed with finding the next Glavine, Smoltz & Maddux.  Maybe they'll find them.  But maybe they won't.  So what's plan B?  There is no plan B.


Draft picks, rehabs and prospects.  That's THE plan.  Coppy says 3 days ago that the days of trading for pitching prospects are over and we need to get better at the major league level.  Then he trades for another pitching prospect.  That's the point.  And that's the way it will be until he trades for a decent major league player, if he ever does.  Otherwise, what you see in the farm system is what you get....and many of them won't be anywhere near ready for 3+ years.


Obviously you don't even believe he has any intention of "getting better at the major league level" any time soon, because you say it's already too late to fix this year's roster.  And that's my problem with this whole thing.  First, this fire sale was going to make it a "much faster" rebuild.  2015 would be a lost season, but they would be competitive in 2016.  Not so.  Then it was, well, they'll have a competitive team for the new park in 2017.  Now you're saying they won't even be a .500 team until the second half of 2017.


Meanwhile, that puts us at 3 lost seasons and counting.  The current roster has the worst talent of any team, according to WAR.  The Cubs' Team WAR is THREE TIMES the Braves value and that's a huge talent gap to fill in the next THREE years with just prospects, rehabs & draft picks.


In fact, the Braves major league team's WAR is pretty much replacement value at every single position.  That means you could replace them with the Gwinnett Braves and expect them to perform just as bad, or maybe even better.  And that's just disgusting.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DrTruth 

I think that will be the case if Hart/Coppy trade Teheran , MLB player/s in return. I doubt the Braves could have gotten a MLB player for Grilli ,unless they were willing to take on another under performing veteran, like Jason. I agree it was disingenuous for Hart/Coppy to say the Braves would be competitive during the teardown and rebuild.It will be well into the 2018 season before the fans will know if the rebuild is successful or not.And what I am waiting to see is if ownership is willing to spend money on improving the roster next year and in 2018. The team should have between $30 and $45 million to spend to get back to the payroll level of 2014. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DrTruth: "Meanwhile, that puts us at 3 lost seasons and counting."

_____________________

It's actually 49 lost seasons and counting since they began playing in ATL.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@DawgNole  Come on now.  I'm tough....but not that tough.  There were 14 cons Div Titles and the WS Champ.  So there have been some good seasons sprinkled in there, right?

Donald_01
Donald_01

I get it, "This is Fantasy Baseball 3 Stooges Style."  I mean it is all play money and does not mean anything.  Now who signed Grilli, ohh :)  I hear that Curly Shuffle going one more time.

AtlFerg3
AtlFerg3

@JeffSchultzAJC Grilli was a shadow of his former self. He will never be what he was before his injury