Posted on: February 22, 2008 8:28 pm

The John Schuerholz Years: Year 2 - 1992

First off, Otis Nixon, Jim Clancy, and Alejandro Pena became free agents.  In 1991, they had contributed 7.3 wins to the team.  I'll use this as a new stat that tracks net losses for the particular offseason.  The team starts off 7.3 in the hole, so to speak.

Every time the team gets rid of a 1991 contributor, I'll make a special mention of it, to let you know how many 1991 wins were, at that point, off the 1992 team.

What's the point of this? The goal is to have the "Immediate gain/loss", which measures productivity specifically in 1992, outweigh the "in the hole" number, which measures productivity from 1991 which isn't returning.  Be careful not to mix the two up.

12/9/91: Released Jeff Parrett.  Parrett, after two subpar seasons in Atlanta, moved on and would provide solid relief work at several points in his career, including 1992 with Oakland.
Net gain/loss: - 10.3
Average per year: -2.06 (total) - Parrett missed 1995 season, so average loss for years he pitched was -2.58.
Immediate gain/loss: -3.4

* Parrett played so poorly for the 1991 team, this actually helps the "in the hole" rating, meaning the team only needed to recoup 7.0 wins in the offseason.

12/9/91: Released Randy St. Claire.

* St. Claire contributed .3 wins in 1991, bringing the "in the hole" total to -7.3.

12/10/91: Traded Rico Rossy to Kansas City for Bobby Moore.  Rossy was no longer a prospect and had nowhere to play.  He spent two years in KC, then toiled away in AAA for 4 years, and returned to baseball in 1998, but that won't be included in the analysis.  Moore became a fixture in Richmond, spending 1992-1996 with Atlanta's AAA affiliate but never getting the call-up.  After being a baseburner with the Royals' system, he never found his speed in our system.
Net gain/loss: -2.2 (-2.2 Rossy) (0.0 Moore)
Average per year: -1.1
Immediate gain/loss: -1.6

12/12/91: Signed Otis Nixon to a 2 year, $4,625,000 deal.  Nixon was a valuable member of the '91 team, and he would remain one of the league's best leadoff hitters throughout the life of this contract.
Net gain/loss: +11.1
Average per year: +5.55
Immediate gain/loss: +5.9

12/20/91: Released Mark Grant. Grant didn't have a whole lot left in the tank, and hadn't been a big contributor in Atlanta.  He would go on and pitch elsewhere, but not really that well.
Net gain/loss: - 1.5
Average per year: -0.75
Immediate gain/loss: -1.7

1/1/92: Signed Randy St. Claire to a contract.  He didn't have much left, and he had helped the 1991 team minimally.
Net gain/loss: -0.1
Average per year: -0.1
Immediate gain/loss: -0.1

1/8/92: Signed Steve Lyons to 1 year, $650,000 deal.  Lyons was remembered for yanking his pants down at first base once, a rare feat considering he wasn't on base often.  He was so bad for Atlanta this counts as a loss.
Net gain/loss: -0.2
Average per year: -0.2
Immediate gain/loss: -0.2

1/23/92: Signed Jeff Manto to a minor league contract.  Manto hit .291/.374/.436 for Richmond that year.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

2/9/92: Signed Dave Pavlas to a minor league contract.  Pavlas was cut in spring training.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

2/16/92: Signed Eddie Williams to a minor league contract.  Williams was terrible for Richmond for a month before he was released.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

2/28/92: Signed Alejandro Pena to a one year, $2,650,000 contract.  Pena would provide mediocre relief work for Atlanta in 1992.
Net gain/loss: +1.7
Average per year: +1.7
Immediate gain/loss: +1.7

3/5/92: Signed Pascual Matos as an amateur free agent.  7 years later, he'd finally debut and get 8 meaningless at-bats.  In 1997, he looked like a solid catching prospect, hitting 18 HR for Durham, but never could get his plate discipline in check.
Net gain/loss: -0.1
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

3/31/92: Released Dave Pavlas.  He returned to Iowa in Chicago's system, but then took two years off for unknown reasons - probably injury.  I won't count what he did later, which still wasn't much,  against Atlanta here.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

As the offseason ended, Atlanta was essentially just staying the course.  Atlanta lost 7.3 wins from the 1991 team which won 94.  Essentially, Atlanta had an 87 win team without any player improvement and any signings, which isn't bad at all.  Resigning Otis Nixon boosted them back to 93 win territory, and Alejandro Pena's resigning took them to nearly 95 wins.  Atlanta won 98 games in 1992, and had they kept Jeff Parrett, Rico Rossy, and Mark Grant, I think they might've pushed 100.  Still, the offseason's goal was to stay the course, and Atlanta certainly did that.  John Schuerholz made sure Atlanta kept the main pieces from the 1991 team and although Pena wasn't quite worth the money, he still helped the team.

Best offseason move at the MLB level: Resigning Otis Nixon
Worst offseason move at the MLB level: Releasing Jeff Parrett
Best longterm move: Resigning Otis Nixon.
Worst longterm move: Releasing Jeff Parrett.

4/30/92 - Released Steve Lyons.  Lyons, as stated earlier, was abhorrent for Atlanta in his month here, played for two more teams in '92, and did nothing whatsoever to hurt or help them.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

5/14/92 - Released Eddie Williams.  In 24 games at Richmond, this MLB "vet" who had more than 100 big league games under his belt, hit .203/.244/.284.  He had some baseball left in him, but not a lot of good baseball.
Net gain/loss: -3.8
Average per year: -0.76
Immediate gain/loss: 0.0

5/28/92 - Traded Ben Rivera to Philadelphia for Donnie Elliott.  Rivera had a solid 1991 in AA Greenville, going 11-8 with a 3.57 ERA, and made Atlanta's opening day roster, but struggled in relief, which was admittedly out of his element.  Philadelphia gave him a starting opportunity and he wound up helping them immediately.  Elliott moved extremely slowly through the Philadelphia system but was considered a talented prospect.  In 1991, at high A ball, Elliott had finally put it together, going 8-5 with a 2.78 ERA.  Atlanta slotted him at Greenville on what might be the best minor league team ever assembled, and Elliott played his part - he went 7-2 with a 2.08 ERA for the Greenville Braves.  Atlanta would later use Elliott in the best trade of the decade and the best deal of Schuerholz' career.
Net gain/loss: -4.3
Average per year: -1.43
Immediate gain/loss: -3.1

Round 1 - P Jamie Arnold - After a great 1993 season with Macon, Arnold fizzled at the upper levels but always hung around thanks to his talent.  Atlanta finally released him after the 1998 season.  He finally reached the majors with the Dodgers and Cubs, but didn't do a whole lot.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

Round 2 - P Jamie Howard - Held out in 1992, didn't reach Macon until '94, when he did ok, but missed all of 95, probably with an injury, and struggled badly upon his return, and was out of baseball by 1997.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

Round 3 - P Carey Paige - A guy who excelled at the lower levels, but couldn't put it together at the lower levels.  Injuries derailed him as well.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

Round 4 - OF Damon Hollins - He's still bouncing around pro systems, thanks to his gifted athleticism, but never quite got it all put together.  In 1994 at Durham Hollins looked like a future stud, hitting .270/.335/.470 with 23 HR, but struggled when he reached AA.  He spent three years in AAA as a decent but not very good OF before finally getting a call-up with Atlanta in 1998, where he didn't impress.  Out of options at that point, Atlanta traded him to LA for a prospect.
Net gain/loss: -0.2
Average per year: -0.2
Immediate: 0.0

Round 10 - P Brad Clontz - Clontz had that crazy underhanded throwing motion and he reached Atlanta in 1995 to help the Braves win a title.  He pitched in Atlanta three years and was helpful in all of them.
Net gain/loss: +6.0
Average per year: +2.0
Immediate: 0.0

Round 12 - P Chris Brock - Brock had a slow rise to the majors, and finally played with Atlanta a little in 1997.  He became a free agent after that, though, and reached his pinnacle in 2000 for Philadelphia.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

Round 46 - P Darrell May - May had a fantastic minor league career, never posting an ERA higher than 3.71, and that was at Richmond in 1995.  He pitched 4 innings (badly) for the '95 Braves, which means he has a WS ring.  He wound up pitching quite successfully for Kansas City about 5 years ago.
Net gain/loss: -0.1
Average per year: -0.1
Immediate: 0.0

Draft summary: Not a great draft for Schuerholz and his scouting department.  Brad Clontz was the only pick that positively effected Atlanta at any point, and he was hardly a player Atlanta built around.  Not a good draft for Atlanta by any measure.

6/18/92 - Released Scott Taylor - After a phenomenal 1991 season at Durham (10-3, 2.18 ERA), Taylor seemed like a top prospect, but presumably injuries set in, because he didn't play again until 1995.  Too bad, really.  That '91 season was impressive.
Net gain/loss: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

6/25/92 - Signed Marty Malloy as amateur free agent - A pretty good scrappy 2B in the mold of Kelly Johnson, Malloy was a solid player for a few years with Greenville and Richmond, finally reached Atlanta in 1998, but just never had a spot with the Braves.  He wound up playing more than 1200 minor league games before retiring after 2003.
Net gain/loss: +0.1
Average per year: +0.1
Immediate: 0.0

7/2/92 - Granted Jerry Willard free agency - In baseball circles, Willard is probably remembered for his time with Cleveland in the 80's.  In Atlanta, he hit that huge sacrifice fly in the 1991 World Series.  Willard would play a little with Montreal and Seattle.  Willard had helped a little in '92, but would soon decline badly, so Schuerholz picked the perfect time to pull this trigger.
Net gain/loss: +.4
Average per year: +.2
Immediate: +.5

7/17/92 - Signed Randall Simon as amateur free agent - Simon was ok for Atlanta in 1999, but had his better years after he moved on.
Net gain/loss: +.7
Average per year: +.23
Immediate: 0.0

7/21/92 - Traded Juan Berenguer to Kansas City for Mark Davis - We were fond of Berenguer thanks to his impressive relief help early on in 1991, but in 1992 he was mostly average.  He wound up helping KC a little after the trade, but wouldn't pitch in MLB after that.  Davis was about as bad as anyone can be in 16 2/3 innings with Atlanta in 1992.  Most people forget that he was a former Cy Young winner, having saved 44 games for San Diego in 1989.
Net gain/loss: -.6 (loss of .4 for Berenguer and -.2 for Davis)
Average per year: -.6
Immediate: -.6

8/30/92 - Traded Nate Minchey and Sean Ross to Boston for Jeff Reardon - Minchey was a top prospect who floundered with Boston, Ross never reached the majors, and Reardon was supposed to lock up the closer job for the Braves, but really didn't impact the team that much, though he was phenomenal for the 15 innings he did pitch.
Net gain/loss: +1.6 (Minchey +.1 / Reardon +1.6)
Average per year: n/a
Immediate: +1.5

Total Net gain/loss for '92 season: -1.8
- Overall, Schuerholz really didn't help the team in the longterm that much, although I suppose not trading its young stars was good.  Sometimes GMs screw that up.

Effect on 1992 season: As stated earlier, Schuerholz got this team to 95 win level, and that assumes equal performance from 1991, which is pretty much what we got.  Had we given Ben Rivera a legitimate shot as a spot starter, we probably could've won 100 games, but we wound up at 98, which was still good enough to win the division by 8 games.  The Reardon deal is probably what pushed us into that 98 territory, from the 95-97 win area.

Final verdict: B+

Schuerholz didn't need to do much, and he knew that.  For his control over the major league roster, he gets an A, and gets bonus points for quicly correcting his mistakes, like Steve Lyons.  I drop him to a B+, though, because this 1992 draft was just so bad.  Atlanta got one middle reliever out of it, and no regular every day players.  That's just not good enough, and Schuerholz would improve down the road.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 14, 2008 1:40 am

Philadelphia Preview

Using two of the most accurate projection systems in the game, here's a look at what to expect from Philadelphia's key players this year.

C - Carlos Ruiz

PECOTA: .270/.341/.413
ZiPs: .273/.341/.425

Average: .272/.341/.419

My thoughts: Not a bad projection for the young catcher. He's a solid, often unheralded piece to a fine offense. Often overshadowed, he's an ideal hitter down in the order, especially for a catcher. I say this projection looks good, and due to limited playing time (somewhere in the vicinity of about 400 at-bats), he should be good for between 7 and 12 HR.

1B - Ryan Howard

PECOTA: .273/.381/.574
ZiPs: .294/.406/.622

Average: .284/.394/.598

My thoughts: While ZiPs goes a little overboard, PECOTA notes that players of Howard's skill set, while quick to reach their peak, don't usually advance to any higher level. Either one of the projections is an MVP season, and I'd say go with the average. If he reaches the average and stays healthy, 45-50 HR is nearly a cinch. I love watching this guy play, and I'm a Braves fan. Go figure.

2B - Chase Utley

PECOTA: .298/.377/.522
ZiPs: .299/.381/.515

Average: .299 / .379 / .519

My thoughts: Sounds about right. I honestly thought he was more deserving of MVP honors than Jimmy Rollins last year, but he missed a few games and missed out on the trophy. His HR total should fall into the 25-30 range, so expect yet another great season from the game's best 2B.

3B - Pedro Feliz

PECOTA: .265/.307/.439
ZiPs: .235/.280/.393

Average: .250/.294/.416

My thoughts: This is kind of why I used both systems - they're quite different. While some of you probably scoffed at PECOTA in a few earlier projections, I'll admit that I trust it a lot more, so that's a good thing. Not to mention it takes into account his new ballpark. Either way, it's hard to get excited about him offensively. He's going to create a lot of outs, which will get frustrating. You will, on the other hand, get Gold Glove defense from him, which he should have won last year. For the contract, that's a fair deal. This team will score enough runs already. They needed some defense added in, and that's what they got. Alright pickup, I think. Not great, but decent. Expect 15-20 HR or so.

SS - Jimmy Rollins

PECOTA: .291/.346/.472
ZiPs: .282/.336/.485

Average: .287/.341/.479

My thoughts: The man who keeps Matt Holliday's MVP trophy (couldn't resist) is due for another big year in 2008. I expect roughly 40 doubles, 10 triples, 25 homers, and 35 steals. He's a really, really good player, and one I've enjoyed watching blossom.

LF - Pat Burrell

PECOTA: .263/.392/.518
ZiPs: .249/.377/.479

Average: .256/.385/.499

My thoughts: So many people will see these batting averages and think Burrell is projected to have a poor season, but that's not anywhere close to accurate. PECOTA is calling for an OPS over 900, and ZiPs' OPS is well over 800. That's pretty impressive. Burrell knows how to get on base, and he can hit for power. That's VERY valuable. I expect 25-30 HR from Burrell this year.

CF - Shane Victorino

PECOTA: .283/.345/.437
ZiPs: .277/.336/.440

Average: .280/.341/.439

My thoughts: He's really a lot of fun to watch, and this projection indicates that he'll be helpful this year, but he won't be one of the league's elite by any means. That's the choice Philadelphia made when they let Aaron Rowand walk, and for the money they saved, they could've done a lot worse out there. Expect between 10 and 15 HR for him.

RF - Geoff Jenkins

(I've had to stop for a while so I've put the bulk of this preview here, and I'll try to finish it tomorrow)
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 6, 2008 11:33 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2008 11:34 pm

The John Schuerholz Years - Year 1: 1991

1990: Schuerholz was hired away from Kansas City in the fall of 1990, after Bobby Cox gave up the job to return to the managerial spot. Schuerholz immediately instituted changes to not just the baseball philosophies but the in house philosophies. A winning attitude took charge, and the players followed suit. Schuerholz, of course, led the charge by making moves which essentially swindled other organizations. Here's a look at some of the moves he made that made this organization into the first class organization it became after he was hired on October 10, 1990.

10/15/90: Released Drew Denson. Denson was a first round pick still lingering from the years of poor scouting and bad management.
Net loss in WARP (Wins Added over Replacement Player): 0.0
Average loss per year: 0.0
Immediate loss (1991): 0.0

10/15/90: Released Charlie Kerfeld. Kerfeld went 3-1 with a 5.58 ERA for the '90 Braves in 25 games in relief.
Net loss in WARP: 0.0
Average per year: 0.0
Immediate loss (1991): 0.0

10/15/90: Released Ernie Whitt. Whitt hit .172/.265/.250 for the '90 Braves as a 38 year old backup catcher. He signed with Baltimore for one final season.
Net loss in WARP: -0.4 (negative does represent a loss - I realize it's confusing with my wording)
Average loss per year: -0.4
Immediate loss (1991): -0.4

11/5: Released Jim Presley. Presley had decent home run power but was never a good hitter. He couldn't move runners or do anything that well. He wasn't that good with Seattle, and his 19 HR with Atlanta in 1990 were precisely the type of season that would mislead the old management style. Cutting him was wise.
Net loss in WARP: +0.6 (Atlanta actually got better from subtracting him, as he was less than replacement level the next year)
Average loss per year: +0.6
Immediate loss (1991): +0.6

11/6: Traded Nate Cromwell to Toronto for Earl Sanders. Neither player reached the majors.
Net gain/loss: 0.0 (0 added, 0 subtracted)
Avg. gain/ loss: 0.0
Immediate g/l: 0.0

11/13: Released Marty Clary. After a misleadingly decent 1989 season, Clary had a disastrous 1990. He was the same pitcher both years, and JS saw that. Clary never pitched in the majors again.
Net loss: 0.0
Avg. gain/loss: 0.0
Immediate g/l: 0.0

11/13: Released Dwayne Henry. Henry walked a hitter every other inning, and we needed some control on the staff. He moved on to Houston, and was able to work out of some jams over the next few years, posting decent ERAs. He wasn't a big loss at all.
Net loss: -4.2
Avg. gain/loss: -1.05 X 4 years
Immediate g/l: -2.00

11/21: Signed Esteban Yan. Yan was a 15 year old and would work through our system before being used in a trade down the road.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg. gain: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

12/03: Signed Terry Pendleton. This was the first moment of the new era of Atlanta baseball. Pendleton won the 1991 MVP, finished 2nd in 1991, he won a Gold Glove, a batting title, and a trip to the All-Star game.
Net gain: 28.1
Avg: 7.025 X 4 years
Immediate: 11.9 (MVP levels are usually around 10 or higher, all-star at 8 or higher)

12/05: Signed Sid Bream. Another player that Atlanta fans love, mostly for postseason heroics, Bream was signed away from a winning organization in Pittsburgh. He also made me eternally confused about the pronunciation of bream, the fish. Oh, and he scored at least one run that I remember.
Net gain: 5.3
Avg: 1.77 X 3 years
Immediate: 1.2

12/10: Traded Dennis Hood to Seattle for Scott Taylor. Hood never played big league ball and Taylor would take many minor league stops before doing so.
Net gain: 0.0 (0 added, 0 subtracted)
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

12/18: Signed Rafael Belliard. Was our primary shortstop in 1991, and played SS during at least the 9th inning of the 1995 world series. Lots of great moments with him on the field.
Net gain: 4.2
Avg: 0.525 X 8 years
Immediate: 2.5

12/20: Signed Charlie Leibrandt. Leibrandt was one of JS' old championship players from KCY, but he was already in Atlanta. We retained him and despite his ill-advised relief appearance, he was a helpful player.
Net gain: 8.8
Avg: 4.4 X 2 years
Immediate: 4.6

1/13: Signed William Brennan. He failed to reach the majors with Atlanta, but later did with the Cubs.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

1/19: Signed Jerry Willard. Just a backup catcher who had one super-clutch sacrifice fly in his bat. Glad he saved it for the World Series.
Net gain: 0.5
Avg: .25 X 2 years
Immediate: 0.1

1/22: Signed Mike Heath. Presumably to fill the old man in catcher gear roster spot vacated by the release of Ernie Whitt, Heath actually started the first 3 months of the season before he got hurt. He never played again.
Net gain: 0.3
Avg: 0.3
Immediate: 0.3

1/22: Signed Randy Kramer. Kramer had pitched with Pittsburgh and Chicago, and later would with Seattle, but didn't for us. I wonder if he was hurt.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

1/25: Signed Doug Sisk. Sisk was a retread of the 1990 team. He wasn't very good. Probably was a particular scout's favorite.
Net gain: -0.6
Avg: -0.6
Immediate: -0.6

1/29: Signed Juan Berenguer. Berenguer had been a solid, if portly reliever for Minnesota through the years. A veteran with a ring. Just what JS wanted. Had he been healthy for the playoffs, I think we win the WS.
Net gain: 3.1
Avg: 1.55 X 2 years
Immediate: 3.1

1/30: Signed Deion Sanders. A turbulent career in Atlanta begun, but Deion certainly helped at times. He wasn't a team player and it was for the best he eventually left. Still, his play wasn't bad.
Net gain: 8.8
Avg: 2.2 X 4 years
Immediate: 0.6

2/1: Released Geronimo Berroa. Berroa actually wound up playing well for Oakland down the road and played into the 2000's. I wish we would've kept him. He could've helped out.
Net gain: -21.8
Avg: -2.42 X 9 years
Immediate: 0.0

2/1: Signed Yorkis Perez. *itching name, average fastball. Didn't play in Atlanta.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

2/8: Signed Tracy Woodson. A role player with a 1988 WS ring, he'd later pop up in STL, but not here.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

2/13: Signed Glenn Wilson. I think this guy wore glasses on the field back in the 80's. That's about all I remember about him or his baseball card. He didn't play in ATL.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

3/9: Signed Randy St. Claire. Provided some pretty dang good relief work in the 1991 season.
Net gain: 0.1
Avg: 0.05 X 2 years
Immediate: 0.2

3/28: Released Oddibe McDowell. With a Yorkis and an Esteban Yan in the organization, we felt there wasn't room for another crazy sounding name. Oddibe was released, reached the majors again in 1994, but only for a short stint.
Net gain: -1.9
Avg: -1.9 (1994)
Immediate: 0.0

4/1: Traded Jimmy Kremers and Keith Morrison to Montreal for Otis Nixon and Boi Rodriguez. The only player who played MLB baseball after this trade was Nixon.
Net gain: 15.9 (15.9 added, 0.0 subtracted)
Avg: 5.3 X 3 years
Immediate: 5.4

27.5 total net gain for that offseason.

Schuerholz' offseason moves were clearly the difference makers. The additions of an MVP in Terry Pendleton, some valuable every day guys in Charlie Leibrandt and Otis Nixon, and smaller role players in Sid Bream, Rafael Belliard, and Juan Berenguer helped push Atlanta from a last place squad to a first place team. But it's unfair to give Schuerholz full credit. On the team already was MVP candidate and Cy Young winner Tom Glavine, All-Star caliber Ron Gant, and valuable other players like Steve Avery, Dave Justice, and John Smoltz. Schuerholz didn't build the team. He merely weeded out players who were, for the most part, BELOW replacement level and replaced them with decent and good players.

Schuerholz probably received too much credit for that 1991 season, really. Otis Nixon was a one dimensional guy who was valuable but whose skills could be found elsewhere in the game. Sid Bream wasn't very good, Rafael Belliard was only good in the field, and Leibrandt and Berenguer were merely, well, decent. His biggest move was the Pendleton signing, but the other big pieces were already in place. Schuerholz' best work wasn't building the team - it was keeping the winning ways going while moving parts around in later years.

Still, as evidenced by the nearly flawless first offseason in which he acquired some talent while giving up nearly none - only Berroa and Henry every truly earned a roster spot after leaving the Atlanta organization - Schuerholz had a keen eye for talent and an ability to get something for nothing, an ability he had developed in Kansas City but would truly hone over the next decade.

The 1991 Season

Each year in this series will be split up into two sections: Preparing for the season and the moves made during each season. Injuries and intangibles often force a GM's hand during the season, and this will hopefully help us see Schuerholz in two contexts: Building a team, and fixing any problems.

4/5: Released William Brennan. Brennan didn't make the team out of spring, so he was released. He had played in LA and would play 2 years later for the Cubs.
Net gain: -0.4
Avg: -0.4
Immediate: --

4/16: Signed Greg McMichael as a free agent. McMichael would become an extremely valuable middle reliever and spot closer for Atlanta, and would have a successful major league career, even beyond the Braves. His best years were with Atlanta, though.
Net gain: 16.1
Avg: 4.025 X 4
Immediate: --

5/3: Signed Randy Veres as a free agent. Veres had pitched a little with Milwaukee in the late 80's and I'm gonna guess he was on his way back from some surgery. He never played in Atlanta, but would play for someone.
Net gain: 0.0
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: --

5/6: Traded Kevin Castleberry to the White Sox for Danny Heep. As of today, I only knew Heep as the light hitting middle infielder of the mid 80's for the Mets. I had no clue he actually played a few times for the '91 Braves. He was a decent little pinch hitter for a month or so. Castleberry never reached the majors.
Net gain: 0.1 - (Heep 0.1), (Castleberry 0)
Avg: 0.1
Immediate: 0.1

6/3: THE AMATEUR DRAFT: Schuerholz' first Atlanta draft really wasn't that spectacular, especially in the long run for Atlanta's success. Schuerholz did discover a future All-Star in the 8th round, but this draft offered zero direct help to Atlanta's organization. Several players were traded, however, for other helpful ones. Here are the drafted players that reached the big leagues.
Round 1: Mike Kelly (-.1 in ATL)
Round 4: Chris Seelbach (-.1 in ATL)
Round 8: Jason Schmidt (-.2 in ATL)
Round 14: Kevin Lomon (0 in first stint but returned)
Round 26: Pedro Swann (0 in ATL)
Net gain: -0.4
Immediate: --

6/7: Released Glenn Wilson. Wilson didn't make the team and was almost done. He'd resurface in '93 and remind everyone why he was released to begin with.
Net gain: +0.2
Avg: +0.2
Immediate: --

6/10: Signed Brad Woodall as a free agent. Woodall had a ton of potential as a minor leaguer, and I always thought he'd be the next big thing, but it just didn't pan out.
Net gain: -0.2
Avg: -0.067 X 3
Immediate: --

6/12: Released Randy Veres. Gosh, that was short lived. He proved later he could at least provide replacement level relief work.
Net gain: -3.1
Avg: -0.775 X 4
Immediate: --

6/14: Signed Rick Mahler as a free agent. If you want to know how far away we were from realizing we were seriously gonna be a great team, use this signing as evidence. Or maybe we wanted to give him a shot at a ring, which he'd get by making an appearance for us. Somehow we let him make 13.
Net gain: -0.1
Avg: -0.1
Immediate: -0.1

6/17: Released Danny Heep. Heep struck out in his last at-bat, but it was in a win. Heep retired or was just not signed.
Net gain: --
Avg: --
Immediate: --

6/17: Signed Terrell Wade. Wow. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much better Atlanta did in '91 at signing amateur free agents than we did at drafting young players. How could we find all these gems yet whiff so badly in the draft?
Net gain: 2.5
Avg: .833 X 3
Immediate: --

6/19: Released Randy Kramer. Kramer would get a shot in Seattle and would not do well in it.
Net gain: 0.2
Avg: 0.2
Immediate: --

6/21: Signed Carlos Reyes. Reyes would eventually be a serviceable reliever but not in Atlanta.
Net gain: --
Avg: --
Immediate: --

6/25: Traded Victor Rosario to Detroit for Dan Petry. Rosario would never play again and Petry would provide the exact definition of replacement-level performance in Atlanta.
Net gain: 0.0 - (Rosario 0), (Petry 0)
Avg: 0
Immediate: 0.0

7/31: Traded Matt Turner and a PTBNL to Houston for Jim Clancy. The PTBNL was Earl Sanders, sent in November and a guy who never reached the majors. Turner wouldn't reach the bigs with Houston, but would with Florida and Cleveland. Clancy wasn't good in Atlanta and never pitched again. I guess it helped us in '91, but not a whole lot, and Turner turned out to be, well, somewhat capable, although his career was short.
Net gain: -3.9 (Turner 4.0), (Clancy 0.1)
Avg: -1.3 X 3
Immediate: +0.1

8/8: Released Rick Mahler. Figured that might happen. Mahler retired a Brave and got a playoff ring. Good for him.
Net gain: --
Avg: --
Immediate: --

8/16: Traded Dan Petry to Boston for a PTBNL. Atlanta received Mickey Pena in November to complete the deal. Pena never played in Atlanta, which made him equally useful as Petry.
Net gain: 0.0 - (Petry 0.0), (Pena 0.0)
Avg: 0.0
Immediate: 0.0

8/28: Traded Tony Castillo and a PTBNL to the Mets for Alejandro Pena. The Mets received Joe Roa in the offseason to complete the trade. Finally, a trade that mattered! Pena propelled us to the '91 NL West crown and World Series, Castillo would be a pretty good reliever down the road, and Roa would play some in the bigs.
Net gain: -16.0 (Roa 4.1), (Castillo 15.5), Pena (3.6)
Avg: --
Immediate: + 2.0

9/29: Traded Yorkis Perez and Turk Wendell to the Cubs for Mike Bielecki and Damon Berryhill. A trade that worked ok for both teams, but it's too bad Bielecki and Berryhill couldn't play in the '91 postseason. They might've been the difference. Even worse, it turns out that Perez was ready to play at the time. Losing Wendell long term is the real reason I give this trade to the Cubs.
Net gain: -22.9 (Perez 6.7), (Wendell 22.0), (Bielecki 2.2), (Berryhill 3.6)
Avg: --
Immediate: -.3 (Bielecki .1), (Perez .4)

10/15: Released Al Martin. Another questionable move in an up and down year for Atlanta scouting. Martin would be a solid major leaguer very soon.
Net gain: -27.0
Avg: -2.45 X 11
Immediate: --

10/15: Released Tracy Woodson. He'd resurface in St. Louis, but wouldn't be much of an impact.
Net gain: -0.2
Avg: -.1 X 2
Immediate: --

All in all, Schuerholz' first year of in-season move really wasn't that stellar. It had ups and downs, but mostly consisted of ambitious but failed moves.
Best move: Signing Greg McMicheal
Worst move: Releasing Al Martin.

While his organizational moves were unhelpful, his major league moves did at least make a dent in the race, and considering Atlanta won by 1 game, they were key.
Impact on 1991 season: +1.8
Best midseason decision: Trading for Alejandro Pena, 2.0
Worst midseason decision: Trading Yorkis Perez, who in one week helped Chicago more than Clancy, Petry, or Mahler helped Atlanta all year.
Category: MLB
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