By In PosCast

The PosCast Episode 18 — Cubs and Warriors

We faux argue about the Cubs and Warriors, discuss the future of baseball free agency and ask the question: Are the Yankees a bad baseball team or an elaborate tax shelter for people with made up names like Chasen Shreve? Also: Carlos Beltran’s Hall of Fame case and the horror show that is the Atlanta Braves.

It seems to available on iTunes — the PosCast automatically downloaded to my phone — but I can’t find it via search. Other download options:



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21 Responses to The PosCast Episode 18 — Cubs and Warriors

  1. jessecrall says:


  2. Rob Smith says:

    I don’t really understand your hate for what the Braves are doing. Yeah, it currently stinks (a little) to be a fan. The team is really bad, and the excitement is purely built around prospects & potential… and clearly not from the overall product on the field today.

    But. The 2014 Braves were built around Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, who had one year left on their contracts and were going to sign HUGE contracts. Look how that’s working out for the Cubs and the Tigers, btw. They also had BJ Upton (aaack!), Dan Uggla (aaaaaaaack!), and Chris Johnson (aaaaaaaaack!) Evan Gattis was a fun player who also couldn’t play any position & belonged in the American league. Your starting pitching was Julio Teheran (kept and signed), Mike Minor (injured and gone), Ervin Santana (a one year mercenary signing), Aaron Harang (a reclamation project) and Alex Wood (young & probably someone they should maybe have kept, but also not doing well in LA). They also obviously signed Freddie Freeman to a long term deal.

    Also, their 2014 minor league prospects were rated at the bottom of the league and the team tanked and didn’t make the playoffs. So, what do you do? Double down on the big contracts or sell your assets, rebuild your farm system and write off a few years. Well, they don’t have the budget to double down & wouldn’t have been the right thing to do anyway. The team they had wasn’t going to win. So keeping it all in place, just guaranteed mediocrity… if you could even keep it together. At best.

    The calculation was correct. The Braves had to sell of their assets and rebuild their farm system. They were going to be bad, so they’d also pick up some really high draft picks of their own along the way.

    Did you see another option that nobody else saw? Or was it just an emotional reaction? To me, it’s the only way the Braves would see competitive baseball again in the foreseeable future. It’s not “tanking” at all. It’s just selling off your assets and trading them for a larger group of prospects that are younger and cheaper. And hopefully better. Matt Wisler (acquired in the Justin Upton trade with San Diego), Aaron Blair (acquired in the Shelby Miller trade with Arizona) and Mike Foltynewicz (acquired in the Gattis trade from Houston) are now 3/5 of their rotation and pitching well. Mallex Smith (also from the JUp trade) is contributing. Ender Enciarte (also from the Smith trade) is young and already an established big leaguer. They have several other prospects they picked up including the Angels #1 prospect, pitcher Sean Newcomb and the Diamondbacks overall #1 prospect, SS Dansby Swanson. Did I mention Ozzie Albies? He was already in the system, but is 19 and already in AAA. He has done nothing but tear up every minor league level that he’s played.

    The Braves may be a ways from winning, but they’ve made overall good trades and their younger players are already competitive. The best thing about their being terrible, is there is absolutely nobody preventing prospects from coming up whenever they’re ready.

    I personally am more than OK with what they’re doing.

    • Not Jennifer Gibbs says:

      What they’re doing is reasonable and understandable, but it’s still awful to watch and lamentable. It’s like fouling at the end of a basketball game–I hate it because it makes for AWFUL basketball, but it’s likely the right thing to do tactically.

      • Rob Smith says:

        I think my complaint to Joe was more around the idea of “tanking”. That’s the term used to imply that the team intends to be bad, as bad as possible. simply to pick up better draft picks. That is completely different from a rational decision that a team doesn’t have the players to win and doesn’t have help coming from the minor leagues, so they embark on a project to rebuild the farm system & the major league roster. It’s painful. It leads to more losing. But it’s not tanking. The Braves are still trying to win. They’re just barely into Year 2 of the rebuild (call it 13 months into a 3+ year plan), and they have about 5-6 prospects already up. But they still have another 5-6 that aren’t ready. So, it is what it is, for now. I think the Braves will gradually improve this year and next. I guess they can’t get worse, and the early commitment to some of the starting pitchers is actually paying off. Not with wins, because they don’t have a lineup that scores runs, but with good pitching performances going deep into games.

        BTW: this is why I hate the firing of Freddie Gonzalez. The GMs really should be accepting the blame and sticking with him. They took the easy way out to take heat off themselves. They really weenied out. People are mad, of course, but scapegoating the manager does nothing to change anything.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      I think you are generally correct. When the Braves won the division in 2013, people talked about what a young core they had, but it really wasn’t that good, especially since everyone knew they were not going to keep Heyward. The rest of the team, as you point out, involved Chris Johnson having a career year and a bunch of pitchers (Medlen, Beachy, Minor) who ultimately got hurt. The way they have gone about it, they have set themselves up with a lot of good young prospects. The Braves are probably better off in the long run than, say, the Yankees, who are stuck with lots of old players with big contracts.

      But, when they began the rebuild, about the time that they made the deal with Cobb County for the new stadium, the Braves were talking about being competitive by the time they moved. To me, this suggested they were planning a renovation, not a complete tear down. Whether that was the plan and they got overwhelmed with offers they couldn’t refuse or whether they always intended to gut the team and start over, I don’t know. Regardless of whether these are the correct baseball moves, they are certainly the right moves from a business perspective, at least if they work out. For a couple of years, they will have an very low payroll and can count on the novelty of the new stadium to bring fans in, especially if they begin to show improvement. (They can probably make money even with relatively low attendance.) In the longer run, they potentially will be able to maintain a low payroll and still win. It remains to be seen whether the team will start spending some money to being in more established players in order to put a respectable team on the field when they start playing in a taxpayer-funded park. Because, it seems to me that the fans (taxpayers) are assuming ALL the risk of the Braves rebuild. I’m certainly not advocating going on a spending spree to bring in free agents; even if Liberty Media was willing to do this, which they clearly aren’t, it’s not an efficient way to run a team. But it bothers me that they may have sold the community a bit of a bill of goods; no one thought the team would be this bad and, while they will probably improve, maybe even this season, they certainly aren’t going to be a contender next year.

      And, let’s be honest. When teams do these tear down/rebuilds, they are not doing it just because it is sound baseball; they are also doing it to shed payroll and try to win on the cheap. I will say this, though, the Braves seem to be investing in scouting and finding players in Latin America. Of course, that in itself, is less expensive than spending on players.

      • Rob Smith says:

        I agree that the new stadium is a complete boondoggle. But that’s Tim Lee and Cobb County’s decision. Of course the Braves are going to listen to proposals that give them tax money to build their business and make more money.

        That aside, it depends on what you call competitive. They could be “competitive” by next year. If competitive means winning close to half your games. I could see that happening.

        I think that we’ve known for quite a while that Liberty Media won’t be a big spender, but if the goal was to get the lowest payroll possible they wouldn’t have picked up guys like Michael Bourne and Nick Swisher. I do think they tried to get enough veterans to hold the fort for a year or two and play slightly below .500. But it didn’t work out & the team became a non competitive dumpster fire. That’s why I find it hysterical when Swisher whines about getting let go. He has an expensive contract and did absolutely nothing for the Braves while here. He was so bad, they ate his contract when he was supposed to be holding the fort. And he call the Braves unprofessional. How ironic.

        I do think they will need to sign a couple of position player FAs because I don’t see the makings of a complete lineup with what they’ve got in the minor leagues. I see the possibility of an Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Mallex Smith, Freddie Freeman core. But assuming that they’ll sell high on Markakis at the trade deadline, there are no corner outfielders, iffy thirdbase prospects and iffy catching prospects. So, it looks to me, like even if things go well they’ll have about half an every day lineup without additional signings. The pitching looks really good, and is ahead of schedule, but a lot of guys are struggling right now in the minors. They just need more time.

        • Marc Schneider says:

          Well, there’s a difference between listening to proposals that are thrown in your lap and aggressively seeking them out. Obviously, the Braves are not the only team to do this; increasingly, sports teams feel entitled to have a taxpayer funded stadium and threaten to move the team if they don’t get it and/or promise to bring the team if they can just get their little stadium built. Many of them say they “have no choice” but to move. And, to justify it, they come up with “data” to support the economic benefits of a facility, which is always wrong. (There may be other benefits, but they are not economic.) The thing is, many business leaders go for this because they will benefit, yet, they will scream to high heaven over any kind of social welfare spending.

          Things will probably work out for the Braves. I agree that, in general, they are doing things the right way and some of the improvement, at least in pitching, seems to be happening.

          • invitro says:

            “The thing is, many business leaders go for this because they will benefit, yet, they will scream to high heaven over any kind of social welfare spending.” — This seems logical, as welfare mothers tend to not be business leaders.

          • Rob Smith says:

            The only example that I can think of where a city has told a team to shove it and refuse to pay for a new stadium is LA. 20 years ago they made that call and the Rams left. Since then LA has continued to refuse to pay the blackmail. But they also knew that LA is a huge TV market and eventually someone will figure out that it’s worth it to pay for a stadium there. So, I’m not sure if the lessons from LA work elsewhere as long as other cities are willing to drop their pants to get a pro franchise.

            But again, why would the Braves not take advantage of public financing if it’s available? Almost every business than can get corporate welfare does so. It’s just good business.

      • KHAZAD says:

        It seems like they are doing it in an odd way, though. More than half the lineup most nights is filled with stone handed players who were better in 2011 than they are now. I would hate to pitch in front of them, and some young unproven guys would surely make a better team.

        • Rob Smith says:

          I agree. And I think the failure of the journeyman placeholders is quickening the call up pace. Already four of the starting pitching slots are filled with rookies/second year players. Mallex Smith was called up after Inciarte’s injury & remains on the team as he works his way through the adjustment period. I think a lot of people expect to see Ozzie Albies soon since he’s doing well in AAA, but he’s still only 19 years old. Dansby Swanson is in his first full year of minor league ball and was just promoted to AA. He is expected to be promoted to AAA at some point, and possibly be a September call up. A number of their big pitching prospects are struggling through adjustment periods & clearly not ready to be called up. The point is, that the Braves are bringing up the prospects as soon as reasonably possible. When they’re reasonably close to ready, they’ll be called up. Nobody is being blocked by talent in front of them, that’s for sure.

          • Marc Schneider says:

            I think part of this is related to free-agent timing. The Braves don’t want to bring up players to quickly and start their free-agency clock. And that sort of makes sense because these players may well struggle immediately, which would mean they would be developing on the Braves time but other teams might get the benefit down the road. It’s not like someone like Chris Bryant last year, who was clearly ready for the majors. I would bet that you see a lot of these kids being brought up in June when it will not cost the Braves a year of free agency.

            The thing is, the Braves have claimed that they expected to be better this year; not good but at least not horrible, but if you look at the lineups they are putting out, it’s hard to see how any baseball person with a lick of sense could not have known they would be awful. The current lineups are 1962 Mets-esque.

  3. Pat says:

    Excellent as ever, Joe and Michael.

    This is a peculiar question, but do any of the comments happen to know what happened to the old PosCast theme music? You know the one, “… why has no one noticed / I have no idea, I have no idea…”?

  4. Cuban X Senators says:

    My grandmother was born in 1917. She was a fan long enough to still interchangeably call the Atlanta team the Braves or the Bees. She watched the Braves games every night. I used to say as long as she had a bowl of ice cream and a Braves game she was happy. She died last June at 97, and I’ve got an uncle who will forever be convinced that the Braves ineptitude killed her.

  5. olneyce says:

    Baffling. Atlanta is to be condemned for tanking. Meanwhile, the Cubs are praised for doing things the right way. But…the Cubs tanked!!

    I mean, I’m all for attacking the Barves just on principle, and I love this Cubs team. But, c’mon. The cognitive dissonance is pretty strong here, isn’t it? The Cubs got where they got, at least in part, by selling off assets and stockpiling prospects.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      I think the difference is that the Braves won the division as recently as 2013 and the perception is that they had a young team so that they didn’t have to tank. The Cubs were already bad. But that 2013 team was sort of built on sand; the front office knew they would not be able to keep Jason Heyward and they tried to go for it by acquiring the Uptons. When that didn’t work and their pitchers all got hurt, the plan changed.

  6. Marc Schneider says:

    Invitro: “The thing is, many business leaders go for this because they will benefit, yet, they will scream to high heaven over any kind of social welfare spending.” — This seems logical, as welfare mothers tend to not be business leaders.

    And your point is what? My point was that business leaders are not averse to “corporate welfare”, ie, public funds given to finance projects that will benefit private interests, but that these same people are quite willing to oppose other kinds of public spending that would benefit people they do not think are worthy.

    I agree, welfare mothers are not business leaders. Business leaders are much bigger hypocrites than welfare mothers.

  7. Home Skillet says:

    I hope they put up the rest of this Poscast soon… these are my favorite things right now. Really great. And the drafts are just pure goofiness.

  8. Brian says:

    Joe, we ever going to get the draft?

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