The Braves were "thrilled" to do the Vazquez deal

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Maybe it’s not how they drew it up, but Mark Bowman* of MLB.com reports that the Braves were getting very little interest in Vazquez outside of the Yankees as no one outside of his no-trade clause (i.e. the NL and AL West) was willing to pay $10M+ for a pitcher while giving up any talent in exchange. Sure, maybe the Braves could have eaten some salary, but if they were going to do that they would have done so with Lowe.  Like it or not, the team has a budget.

So as it stands, Bowman reports, “the Braves were thrilled when the Yankees were interested enough in
Vazquez to highlight this five-player trade with the inclusion of
Arodys Vizcaino . . .”

I’ll admit that my biggest problem with handicapping deals is that I focus too much on whether the players/money that comes back is useful for the receiving team and not enough on whether the deal is, you know, fair. Cabrera, Vizcaino and the cash are useful for the Braves. They’re not equal in value to Vazquez.

But at the same time, many people who focus on how uneven this or any other trade is often fail to acknowledge that this isn’t the stock market and there aren’t always optimal, equitable deals to be had.  Sure, sometimes maybe you do no deal before doing a bad one, but it’s probably worth remembering that the business of trading and signing players is closer to an art than a science.

*Bowman notes in his post that he spent part of yesterday driving on “the twists and turns on West Virginia’s mountainous turnpike.”  As a proud product of Exit 48 I envy him. There isn’t a better road to haul ass on east of the Mississippi than the stretch between Charleston and Beckley. 

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.