Monday, November 3, 2014

Guess who's back (back again)

Oddly, I keep coming back to the blogosphere as if it's something I am committed to. I think I just like the idea that my words have meaning. After all, here they are. On the internet and everything. So...yeah.

Been a busy month or so in Atlanta. First, after the Braves were rudely informed that the 2014 playoffs wasn't something they needed to worry themselves with, general manager Frank Wren was fired along with his brother, some jackass assistant GM, and anyone who didn't immediately answer "shitty" to the question, "what kind of person was Wren?"

This was followed by a "exhaustive search" led by John Schuerholz, Robert Joseph Cox, and John Hart. This weeks-long quest scoured the landscape for the right guy who believed in the "Braves Way" and that Fredi Gonzalez was really a idiot savant when it came to baseball. The search truly was a interesting one with rumors of the some of the youngest and brightest minds in the game taking over to lead us all to a new dynasty. Just kidding...as you might know because we at Walk-Off Walk do not break news...a member of the search committee, Hart, was named the President of Baseball Operations because general manager didn't sound important enough. Fast rising GM candidate John Coppolella remains with the organization as the "right-hand guy" because that's far more valuable than a GM. Seriously, why can't we just do things easy?

A slew of moves that brought back many of the scouts that Wren "chased away" preceded Hart being named President Baseball Op, including the return of former Head Scout Roy Clark. This gave the AJC ample opportunity to further bury Wren as the absolute worst human since Bin Laden, which will certainly assist Wren in efforts to find employment.

Not lost in this mess was the news that one of the contentions Wren had with the upper crust in Atlanta was that he wanted to fire Fredi. Like an overbearing mother sticking up for her brat of a son, Bobby Cox came to Fredi's rescue and convinced Schuerholz that Fredi was the right guy in Atlanta. Hard to expect your general manager to do his job effectively when he has no control over who manages the team he puts together. Hart won't concern himself with that, though. He's a Presidente after all, not a lowly general manager.

While the Royals stole our hearts and Fox gave us a broadcasting booth that included both Joe Buck and Harold Reynolds, the Braves settled on their coaching staff that would earn our scorn. They picked up former Royal Kevin Seitzer to be the team's hitting coach for 2015. Seitzer is the kind of guy Fredi wants. Seitzer preached gap-to-gap hitting while avoiding strikeouts. This is good and all except that kind of approach doesn't reflect the team that has been built. Recently, the Braves also hired Jose Castro as the assistant hitting coach. Castro has the kind of common name that OOTP players get very used to seeing in the low minor leagues. Apparently, he's been a hitting coach or minor league coordinator for 20 years or so and was the Cubs' quality assurance coach last season. Pretty sure that was Creed's job on The Office so in my head, Castro = Creed.

So, here we are...the Giants have celebrated (again). The irresponsibly early predictions have named the Nationals champs of next season (again). And the Braves have serious question marks. Ervin Santana is a free agent and will try again to secure a long-term deal. The Braves will place a qualifying offer on him, which might scare off some teams that don't have a safe first round pick. Aaron Harang was a hell of a find last season (Thanks Obama Wren), but the Braves probably will wish him the best on his future endeavors, successfully retiring a good number of hilarious memes involving him. Other free agents include Fredi lookalike Gerald Laird, all-around awful Brave Ryan Doumit, a broken (again) Gavin Floyd, and little jitterbug Emilio Bonifacio. Several arbitration cases remain, including Mike Minor, Jordan Walden, David Carpenter, and the trio of also broken (also again) pitchers Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen, and Jonny Venters. And that doesn't even get into the $13M that Dan Uggla will get next season, along with a World Series ring for his play in San Fran that ultimately made them accept Joe Panik as their guy at second. You're welcome, Giants.

With all of the money already kinda dished out, trades and more trades seem to be the offseason strategy. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward are both entering the final year of their contracts while Evan Gattis seems to be without a position if Christian Bethancourt is the guy behind the plate next season. Oh...and yeah, there's the whole thing with B.J. Upton...can't forget that. On the plus side...

So, there certainly does remain a good deal to write about and I have several on-going series to wrap up and this offseason seems like a good time to do it. I'm back, kids. Time for the Braves to do some good because apparently, the Nationals are practically unbeatable.

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