Atlanta Braves: Why We Hate Them

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The Atlanta Braves aren’t in our division or our league and we don’t play them in interleague matches this year so why, pray tell, should fans of the Oakland Athletics hate this team that we have no chance of meeting prior to the World Series? Because they are, evidently, taking a page from our playbook and applying it to our own players.

The A’s have long maintained a strategy of taking players who would otherwise be forgotten on other teams, grooming them, giving them a chance and turning them into all stars. Because of this strategy, the A’s have enjoyed several post season berths and we’re treated to some of the most fun and entertaining baseball being played. The Atlanta Braves, however, have enjoyed incredible success over the past 25 years using their own style of recruitment and player acquisition.

Since 1991, the Atlanta Braves have appeared in 17 post seasons, seven division series’, five World Series’, and brought home a ring in 1995.  One of their three sub .500 seasons came in 2014 when they finished the season in second place with a .488 win percentage. So, after one bad year what do they do? They adopt the Billy Beane way and acquire some players on the slide for cheap but the problem is, half of these guys just finished playing with the A’s!

First, the Atlanta Braves go and grab Jim Johnson. I like Jim Johnson and was excited to have him in Oakland but the man with 100 saves in two years earned just two saves last year and wracked up an ERA just over 7. His time in Oakland was short and his time in Detroit was shorter. I’d love to see hi make an incredible comeback in the National League and prove all of us wrong but I just don’t see it happening.

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Then those brave souls in the Atlanta Braves front office go and grab Alberto Callaspo off the free agent market. I’m surprised they were able to contact him for contract negotiations seeing as he still hasn’t returned to the dugout from his last game with the Athletics (because he’s slow…get it?). Callaspo was an important addition in 2013 for the Athletics but spent much of 2014 perplexing fans as his plate discipline slipped and his defensive play became slow and lackadaisical. Lackadaisical, a word I use almost exclusively for Callaspo. Callaspo had one of his worst seasons in terms of K% and turned in the second lowest batting average of his major league career.

So why, after taking Athletics rejects, should we hate the Atlanta Braves? Because what if they make it work? What if they get the Jim Johnson of yesteryear and get the impossible to strike-out Callaspo? What if they have success using our playbook with players we couldn’t make it work with? Is that a testament to the genius of Beane’s buy-low, groom, sell-high strategy or does that indicate a flaw in how we’ve been doing business for the past two decades?

I don’t really care much about the Braves but I can assure you, I’ll be watching the stats pages of two of their players very closely in 2015.

Next: Should Baseball Ban the Shift?

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