Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is just around the corner and if you're anything like me, you still have a few things to get.

The Braves are in a similar position as they have done some of their shopping and they are keeping their eye on some big purchases if the price is right, but they also need to look for some little things to complete their Christmas shopping. Maybe a stocking stuffer or ugly sweater. Or power bat. One of those things.

George Kottaras - Catcher

I am going to make a concession here because Kottaras has defensive issues even though his defensive WAR at fangraphs has always been at least average. His pitch-framing, which you can find here, has always been miserable. He doesn't throw out anyone. Nevertheless, the Braves need offense and Kottaras, despite his career .215 batting average, gives you offense (especially compared to his position). How's that? He's posted a career walk rate of 14.1% and a .197 ISO. Since 2008, among catchers who have received 800 plate appearances, he ranks third in both categories. Yet he bounces around while others with such marks get long term deals. Kottaras has never been a starter and like I said, he has his shortcomings on defense. If the Braves want to focus on defense only for backup catcher, let Christian Bethancourt back-up. But if they want a veteran who gets on base, hits for power, and tries to play catcher, add Kottaras.

Rafael Furcal - Second Base

Whoa...didn't that bridge get burned for good? And a bomb dropped on it? And a sign was put up that said "Not Safe for Humans?" Yeah, probably, but the Braves could use another option at second base. I mean, they just gave Alberto Callaspo a contract. Why not Furcal on a minor league deal? Fookie was limited by injuries last year and might not hold up for very long, but he's worth a look. Sure, he won't steal a bunch of bases for you anymore, but as a stopgap until our next Furcal, Jose Peraza, arrives, he could provide a little value. At worst, you cut him before the season.

Mike Morse - First Base/Outfield

A member of the 2014 champs, Morse is again a thoroughly limited player. His defense at first isn't terrible, but in the outfield, he's horrendous. But like Brad Pitt in Moneyball, I don't really care about that because Morse gets on base. He also hits for power as evidence by his career ISO of .193. If Atlanta trades Justin Upton and/or Evan Gattis, they are going to need a bit more power. Hell, they probably need it now. Sure, Morse might Doumit all over the field next year, but let's focus on the positives. Morse, a right-hand hitter, isn't vulnerable when it relates to LHP vs. RHP, which allows you to use him late in games. Morse might not fit this article's definition of a bargain depending on where his market value lands, but he's worth the Christmas club money.

Chris Capuano - Starting Pitcher

40 pitchers last season threw their fastball less than 50% of the time. Of that 40, over half of them used their cutter enough to be disqualified from this exercise. That leaves 14 pitchers. Well, 13 if you take out the Canadian knuckleballer. One of those baker's dozen is Capuano, who went to the trusty number one just 44% of the time. Capuano reminds me of Aaron Harang, though not because of his pitching style. Capuano, like Harang, is a flyball pitcher who simply needs to land into a spot that will suppress his tendency to give up homers. Atlanta can be that place. Capuano has kept his FIP under 4.00 the last three years and would fit nicely either as a starter or long guy.

Gavin Floyd - Starting Pitcher

Hey, I know that guy! You remember Floyd and his elbow that decided it wanted to live independently of his body? Well, he's supposed to be fully healthy by spring and ready to give it another try in 2015. He was actually fairly productive before the injury and he came to Atlanta for a reason. Why not stick around and see if he can give the Braves 30 starts next year? After all, who else is going to start? David Hale?

Mike Adams - Relief Pitcher

Though he has spent the last two seasons mostly on the shelf as he "stole money" from the Phillies, Adams was able to get back to the majors last September and is worth a look. Before his injuries in Philly, Adams had posted a five-year run where he averaged almost 60 games with a 2.67 FIP and a 0.99 WHIP. On a one-year contract with incentives, he could become a major cog getting the game to the ninth.

So, there we have it. Six veteran "presents" that are truly presents for John Hart. Feel free to parade my ideas around as your own when you take home Executive of the Year. You're welcome.

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