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  1. #1
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    Brian McCann undergoes surgery

    As expected, Brian McCann underwent surgery to repair damage to his right shoulder today. That wasn't unexpected, but the release also said that it would be six months before McCann is ready to resume baseball activities.

    I'll be clear that I don't think this will have any bearing on the Braves' decision to pick up McCann's $12 million option. Catchers of McCann's standing are nearly impossible to find, and Mac is definitely a popular hometown figure.

    But I'm certainly starting to ask myself if the Braves should be questioning the option (even if I don't think they will). Because now, it's not just that he's a risk to post a .700 OPS again next year. It's also that he might miss significant time. Recovery timelines for these sorts of surgeries are never set in stone, and a setback or two could mean he misses six weeks or more of the season. Not to mention the possibility that the rehab and surgery have done permanent damage to his swing or his hitting ability.

    Christian Bethancourt is simply NOT an option for the Braves in 2013. He needs more time to learn and develop, and would be an absolute disaster in the major leagues. Evan Gattis is not going to be able to handle the defensive responsibilities of the position. But the Braves DO have David Ross, who has easily posted starter-caliber numbers in a backup role. I understand the Braves' hesitation to give him a starting gig for the first time in his career at age 36, but what if they paired him with a really strong partner behind the dish. Like, say, Kelly Shoppach. Or better yet, Geovany Soto, who is a non-tender candidate in Texas if Mike Napoli re-signs. (Ross has a mild platoon split, and Soto mashes lefties.)

    If we assume the Braves are going to bring back Ross regardless of McCann's status, then the team could save significant money by replacing McCann at $12 million with someone like Shoppach at $5 million or so. A Ross and Shoppach (for instance) pairing wouldn't give the Braves the upside that McCann brings, but McCann's downside is also arguably more risky. Mac could give you an .850 OPS for most of the season or a .700 OPS while missing lots of time. A Ross/Shoppach pairing would almost certainly fall somewhere in the .750 to .800 range in OPS while creating a veteran bridge to Bethancourt's debut sometime in 2015 or so. Plus, it's not as if McCann couldn't re-sign at a lower salary after his option was declined.

    It just seems to me that for a team that needs to maximize every dollar, and given the risk associated with McCann, that Ross is sort of wasted in a once-a-week role. I still completely think that McCann will be the Opening Day catcher, but I'm not nearly as convinced as I was even a month ago that McCann is the right choice for the role.

  2. #2
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    Most forum regulars know where I stand on this issue long term, but I believe the team will pick up the option.

    Hope for a (relatively) speedy recovery.

  3. #3
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    That's almost 13% of the Braves' budget spent on someone who had a bad season and is coming off a significant injury. Can't blame all of last season on the injury, either, as he wasn't playing well before the injury. This almost seems like it's a replay of what happened with Smoltz. How much would Wren pay Mac not to play?

    Given the speed with which they have to decide to pick up the option, I can't see the two sides ripping up the option and working on a 2-3 year deal.

    Wouldn't want to be Wren right now.

  4. #4
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    Even when he resume activities in about 6 months, how long will it take to get in baseball shape (swinging, throwing, ect)? Sounds too risky to me...

  5. #5
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    I could see us picking up the option and then working out like a 2 year deal for a lower salary.
    ]

  6. #6
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    I can't recall them giving a multi-year deal/extension to someone with injury concerns in recent years.

    Lowe was a horse, "innings eater."
    Uggla had his durability going for him.
    Hudson had been durable, TJ surgery aside.

    Anyone else? Feels like Wren usually makes safe bets.

  7. #7
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    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/atlanta_braves/index.html

    My heart says sign him, my brain says drop him. Yes, tough deal for Wren.......
    1991 Lost WS to Twins 4-3
    1992 Lost WS to Blue Jays 4-2
    1993 Lost NLCS to Phillies 4-2
    1996 Lost WS to Yankees 4-2 (led 2-0)
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  8. #8
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    Rip up the contract. Offer 3 years, 31 Million (9,10,12) with a fourth year option at 14 million.

    If he doesn't come back to form in the next season or two an AL team would take the risk on him getting it back for that cost.

  9. #9
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    Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  10. #10
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    I don't think Ross/Shoppach is guaranteed for .750-.800 OPS at all. Shoppach hasn't sniffed the low end of that since his career year in 2008, and Ross is a 36 year old at the toughest defensive position in baseball, who failed miserably the last time he was exposed to the majority of PA at C in a season.

    Bringing back McCann is a no-brainer.

  11. #11
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    I think you have to bring him back for another year and then just re-approach the situation after the year. If he struggles again then maybe we can get him at a big discount, or maybe we let him go over to the AL where he doesn't have to catch every day.

  12. #12
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    Depends on how the money would be allocated. Sadly, you can't gauge the market too well in only 3 days after the World Series. The timing is working in McCann's favor.

  13. #13
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    Brian McCann undergoes surgery

    Pick up the option, let Bethancourt mature, and drop Brian in '14. Hate to say that, but only makes sense.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by flea View Post
    I don't think Ross/Shoppach is guaranteed for .750-.800 OPS at all. Shoppach hasn't sniffed the low end of that since his career year in 2008, and Ross is a 36 year old at the toughest defensive position in baseball, who failed miserably the last time he was exposed to the majority of PA at C in a season.

    Bringing back McCann is a no-brainer.
    Last three years, 2010-2012:

    Shoppach vs. LHP: .773 OPS, 352 PA
    Ross vs. RHP: .830 OPS, 280 PA

    It's not a guarantee, but I'd bet on that at $8-10 million before I bet on McCann playing a full season of .850 OPS ball at $16 million. Ross played 90 games in 2006 and hit .255/.353/.579, and the Braves would only need him for 100 games or so. Again, is it ideal? No. But neither is paying McCann to sit for two months and then praying he can round back into All-Star form after two straight years of injury issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by HickCaesar View Post
    I think you have to bring him back for another year and then just re-approach the situation after the year. If he struggles again then maybe we can get him at a big discount, or maybe we let him go over to the AL where he doesn't have to catch every day.
    I think that if you don't see McCann staying in Atlanta long term, then there's no point in keeping him for one more year and taking your chances on his injury status. Why pay him $12 million for two-thirds of a season? The 2013 risk can be mitigated as part of a longer deal, but for just the one year, why take your chances?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtgthree View Post
    Last three years, 2010-2012:

    Shoppach vs. LHP: .773 OPS, 352 PA
    Ross vs. RHP: .830 OPS, 280 PA

    It's not a guarantee, but I'd bet on that at $8-10 million before I bet on McCann playing a full season of .850 OPS ball at $16 million. Ross played 90 games in 2006 and hit .255/.353/.579, and the Braves would only need him for 100 games or so. Again, is it ideal? No. But neither is paying McCann to sit for two months and then praying he can round back into All-Star form after two straight years of injury issues.



    I think that if you don't see McCann staying in Atlanta long term, then there's no point in keeping him for one more year and taking your chances on his injury status. Why pay him $12 million for two-thirds of a season? The 2013 risk can be mitigated as part of a longer deal, but for just the one year, why take your chances?
    2/3s of the season? where do you get that from? He will be back after the first month of the season... or did I miss something after the surgery?
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