Hey everyone c’mon down to SunTrust Park, located in the heart of beautiful Cobb County, for our first annual (and hopefully last) “Everything Must Go Sale!” That’s right; we are slashing prices on our entire inventory. Want a potential five-tool outfielder to sure-up the top of your lineup? Or, how about utility player to strengthen your bench? That not you’re kinda thing? Well how about a former MVP candidate or the mythical “white bear?” Think we’re joking—we’re not! Don’t have enough money to swing such a deal? We’ll take pennies on the dollar. Wipe that drool boy! You think you’ll find deals better that this? I DOUBT IT!
You’re listening to Grissom on the Run: The Atlanta Braves from a fans perspective.
No, it is not an exaggeration to compare Atlanta's offseason to a cheesy liquidation commercial. The Braves have taken a page out of their division rivals, the Florida Marlins manuel; except that Atlanta did not hoist championship banners in '97 and '03 like the Marlins. In fact, Atlanta has not won a playoff series since 2001. Furthermore, last year's crop went 59-72 after April 27th. Much speculation has been made about former GM Frank Wren straying from, The Braves Way, of constructing a roster. Wren wheeled and dealed as if he was the Yankees. He swapped youth for veterans like the Uptons and splashed-the-cash on free agents like Ervin Santana, which depleted his farm system; making it difficult to add necessary pieces at the trade deadline to get Atlanta over-the-hump. Thus, if the front office deemed this most recent edition nonefficient to get deep into the postseason; then why not hock a few extra TV's for something useful in return?
However, Atlanta has gone about it the wrong way.
Since the start of 2012, 53 Major Leaguers have undergone Tommy John surgery and had a full year now to recover. Only 32/53 are back in MLB. Jon Rogele's admirable unofficial documenting of TJ surgery serves as an eye-opener to those assembling rosters. Atlanta, especially, should be aware of this epidemic as it not only knocked top of the rotation studs Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen out for the season but off the squad as well. Granted, baseball is a sport and as such dictates that injuries could happen to any player regardless of position.
But, why put stock in one with greater probability than the others?
The Braves Way was built on young arms in the rotation that could shut down the opposition on any day and allow their offense to struggle to a 1-0 or 2-1 victory. The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league fabrication of the early 2000's stands as a haunting reminder of the ramifications for investing heavily in hurlers. Could Michael Foltynewicz, Tyrell Jenkins and Max Fried be the next Kip Wells, Bryan Bullington and John Van Benschoten? Fried is already out of action from his TJ surgery back in August and could prove to be a careless return for the much sought after Upton not named Melvin. Thus, in an era when offense is down:
Why be sheep and stockpile arms like the rest of the flock?
Henceforth, Atlanta's reconstruction should focus on hitting rather than pitching. The last two World Series champions demonstrated that rosters with mashers and contact hitters combat good starting pitching. Moreover, this recent obsession to assemble "super rotations," like last years Tigers or 2013 Phillies has proved to be a failure because offenses were neglected. Additions of Rio Ruiz, Mallex Smith and Ozhaino Albies are a solid start but more needs to be done. 2017 will not be "the year" but it will be a season in which the club will show significant strides towards constant competitiveness. A strong offense, with solid pitching, good defenders and a top-ten farm system to supplement from is vital in creating a new Braves Way that breeds a better success rate than the teams of the nineties.
You've been listening to the inaugural episode of Grissom On The Run.
The showpage can be found at benviewnetwork.com/grissom
There you can find the direct download link as well as each shows transcript.
Thanks to Tommy Esposito for the show’s logo.
You can find more of his work at espositostudios.com
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Until next time, I’m Matthew Esposito and I'm here to chop.