October 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
The Braves announced they exercised the options of Brian McCann ($12 million), Tim Hudson ($9) and Paul Maholm ($6.5). All three are no-brainers, and the only question that remains from this group is who is left after next season. Check our thoughts on McCann’s future. I mentioned Hudson’s future briefly here.
The Braves have made it known they want David Ross back. Ross previously made it known he wants to return. I expect this to go smoothly. Ross has said in the past he prefers a backup role because of the toll his body takes while playing over long stretches. Also, he’ll be 36 in March, and giving him a starting job on a multi-year deal at this point isn’t smart.
Chris Haft of MLB.com says “(Angel Pagan is) expected to command in excess of $10 million annually on a multiyear contract. The Giants must decide whether Pagan is truly worth that figure or if they can live with overpaying him.”
When Pagan has actually played an entire season, he has been good for 4-5 wins, even when UZR gives him average defense. He has been around average defensively in center field for his career, but his bat has largely made up for it by producing a career .329 wOBA and 104 wRC+. The 31-year-old is a speed player with an average walk rate, so giving him a long-term contract might not be in the Braves’ best interest. But he remains one of the best center field options out there.
Rob Neyer of SB Nation chooses Kris Medlen as his Braves player of the year. There’s no denying Medlen’s success as a starter down the stretch, as well as his role as a reliever for much of the season. Getting a 1.57 ERA and 2.42 FIP with 3.9 fWAR from a guy who made just 12 starts is solid.
However, for all Medlen did to boost the pitching staff down the stretch, it’s also tough to deny Jason Heyward’s 6.6 fWAR, hitting 27 home runs with 21 stolen bases, and a .351 wOBA and 120 wRC+. If Medlen had done what he did, or even close to it, for an entire season, sure, give him the honor (not his fault but that doesn’t change anything). But Heyward amassed his totals over an entire season and was neck-and-neck with Chipper Jones in wOBA while playing in 158 games. When a player does what Heyward did this season, he’s usually the team’s best player.
Heyward was named the winner of the 2012 Fielding Bible Award for right field. “The youth movement continued in right field with first-time winner Jason Heyward. Heyward secured 96 points to top Josh Reddick, who had 84. Reddick actually saved more runs defensively for his team than did Heyward, 22 runs saved to 20, but Heyward’s excellent range and his third straight season of great defensive play earned him a well-deserved award.”
Heyward was also named a Gold Glove winner Tuesday night, giving him a sweep of the defensive awards. It’s the first of what should be many in Heyward’s career.
Martin Prado and Michael Bourn were both up for Gold Glove awards, but the voters chose lesser defenders based probably on their names and hitting ability. Freddie Freeman was also a finalist at first base but lost to Adam LaRoche.
Around the NL East
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post digs into the new compensatory system and how it affects the Nationals’ dealings with Edwin Jackson and Adam LaRoche.
The Phillies exercised the $5 million option for Carlos Ruiz. The catcher, who will turn 34 in January, hit .325/.394/.540 with a .398 wOBA in 421 plate appearances this past season. His 5.5 fWAR was a career high. While he’s almost certain not to repeat those numbers in 2013, he remains both a solid bat and glove behind the plate and will be underpaid at $5 million.
Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley looks at Ruiz’s future in Philadelphia.
The Phillies declined the $5.5 million mutual option for Placido Polanco, buying out his contract for $1 million and letting him walk. Polanco played in only 90 games with 328 plate appearances in 2012 due to a host of injuries, including two trips to the disabled list for lower back inflammation. He’ll be 37 years old for the 2013 season.
The Phillies also declined options on Ty Wigginton and Jose Contreras, both receiving $500K buyouts.
The Mets picked up the options of David Wright ($16 million) and R.A. Dickey ($5), both of which were no-brainers. New York has much to discuss this offseason and in 2013 regarding the futures of both players.