While there's plenty of talk to be had about potential new additions to the Braves' outfield, there's still a lot to talk about when it comes to the current state of the outfield. That's exactly what 92.9 The Game's Grant McAuley did as he took a long look at the Braves outfield. Here are some of his thoughts on Nick Markakis, who will hopefully be one of the steadier players in the Braves' lineup this season.
...If Markakis’ power returns and he remains durable, there is a decent chance he could turn in a 2.0 WAR season. It’s at this point that I’ll circle back to a fine piece by Dave Cameron of Fangraphs from March of 2014, in which he postulated that a win is worth about $6 million. Thus, if Markakis can be a 2.0+ WAR player, then his $11 million salary is right in line with what the market has commanded recently. At worst, the deal is fair market value for a player who contributes as such, though it does not account for any of the intangible value for which Atlanta is no doubt hoping to benefit from in signing Markakis to begin with. Truth is, that value per win may well have adjusted up given the sizable contracts handed out over the past two winters. That, however, is a conversation for another time.
Earlier this week, the Justin Upton sweepstakes came to a close when it became known that the Detroit Tigers had ended up signing the 28-year old outfielder to a six-year, $132.75 MM contract. While it's not a shock to see Upton sign a big-money, long-term deal, it is a shock that the Braves were actually considering handing Upton a long-term deal of their own. Reportedly, the Braves also offered Upton a six-year deal, but the money was much lower than what he'd end up getting from Detroit. Still, it's interesting that the Braves considered this an option, and it's also proof that they actually do intend on making a splash when they move into their new ballpark.
Meanwhile, the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes are still rumbling on, but there may be an end in sight as interest from teams across baseball is starting to bubble over. One of the teams who are interested in potentially signing the Cuban slugger is the Braves -- but only on a short-term deal. Considering that he'll probably get a long-term deal from one of the many other teams who may want Cespedes, this appears to be an extremely unlikely scenario for the Braves. However, it's also indicative that even though the Braves may want to make a big free-agent splash, they're picking and choosing their spots at the moment.
With both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton locked into long-term contracts with new teams, now appears to be the perfect time to take inventory of what the Braves eventually picked up from trading those two away. It's safe to say that the Braves will probably reap the benefits of the Heyward trade for a long time thanks to the deals that happened after this trade (thank you, Dave Stewart), and while the verdict is still out on the Upton deal, it's also pretty easy to see that the Braves got more from a trade than they would've from getting just a compensatory pick if Upton had left via free agency. So yeah, seeing those guys in new uniforms is super-lame, but the new players will hopefully make it worth it.
Now that the Detroit Tigers have signed Justin Upton, manager Brad Ausmus has a pretty good problem on his hands -- where is he going to bat his new outfielder? Ausmus has plenty of options, and our friends over at Bless You Boys tried to figure out where Upton would fit best in Detroit's lineup.
One possible lineup
Pitcher Aaron Sanchez isn't the most flashy name on the Blue Jays roster. He only made 11 starts for Toronto last season before injury forced him to the bullpen. However, he's determined to make it back into the Blue Jays' rotation and showed up to a recent media event bulked up. You could say that he's in the "best shape of his life." I don't have strong feelings about this particular story, but I am hyped because once you see these types of stories popping up then you know that baseball season is right around the corner.