Answers On The Fly: A Reader Mailbag
Welcome to another installment of Answers On The Fly. Answers On The Fly runs on Mondays, and is your chance to get your Atlanta Braves questions answered by guys who had entirely too much to eat this Thanksgiving, and as a result, are pretty lazy today. Feel free to add your questions to the mailbag.
Submit your questions the following ways:
This week didn’t feature any big Atlanta Braves news, but it certainly featured some big news affecting local teams. We’ll get to that in a moment.
First, we would like to take a moment to introduce two new writers.
Dan Horton has joined us and will be writing primarily about the Atlanta Braves, and has said he may throw in an article or two about football. Dan has already published his first piece here at OFR, but he has written over at TomohawkTake.com for some time. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @DHorton398, and you can see examples of his other work here. Dan will continue to write for Tomahawk Take, and we welcome his contributions here, as well.
TJ Alexander has joined the writing staff and will be writing primarily about football. This is TJ’s first foray into writing, though he has contributed ideas for articles in the past. TJ will also be involved in the upcoming podcasts. We look forward to his contributions.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled Answers On The Fly.
What’s the deal with the Bud Norris signing? That guy had an ERA near 7.00!
– Patrick W.
Chris: In case you missed it, this past Wednesday, the Atlanta Braves signed veteran pitcher Bud Norris. The deal was reportedly a 1-yr/$2.5M deal.
This signing seems to show that the Braves don’t believe Mike Minor is making the progress they hoped. He still has not begun throwing off of a mound, and the last day to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is this Wednesday.
Norris has been a starter most of his career, though he did finish the 2015 season in the bullpen of the San Diego Padres. He had a dreadful season in 2015, posting a 6.72 ERA on the season For his career, he has a 4.44 ERA, though his career peripheral numbers seem to show that he has pitched a little better than his ERA:
Norris will be a starter for the Braves, it appears. And in that regard, he has some value (though maybe not as valuable as Coppolella’s quote indicates). Most of the Braves young starters will still be on pitch and innings limits, and some of the relievers will be monitored closely as they return from injury. As a result, Norris’ ability to provide innings is his greatest asset to Atlanta. He has thrown 150+ IP every season as a regular starter since 2010. Norris is a roughly league average pitcher, which by itself isn’t a bad thing. Taking pressure from the young arms is a plus. Norris was signed less for the quality of his innings than for the quantity of innings he will provide.
And the contract is good. There are almost no bad one-year deals. If he’s horrible, we release him and we’re done. If he’s okay, we get what we thought we were going to get. And if he’s good, we get deadline calls for a veteran SP.
As I told someone in a Facebook group, signing Bud Norris isn’t a sexy signing. It may not even be a good signing. But it isn’t a bad signing, given the contract.
Should Marcell Ozuna be an option, or is the price too high?
– Clint C.
Chris: Marcell Ozuna is an interesting guy. He’s 25, he plays a pretty decent outfield at all three spots, and he can hit 25 HR a year. He makes very hard contact, and he is still under team control.
And the Marlins don’t want him. While some of it is probably because Jeffrey Loria is a bona fide idiot (Editor note: These opinions are those of Jervass himself, and do not reflect the opinions of Outfield Fly Rule, despite Jervass being a co-founder…it’s like a split personality), there was also some serious heat between the Marlins and Ozuna after they sent him down to the minors in his rookie season. Had Ozuna stayed down for less than 5 1/2 weeks, he could have received Super Two status and had an extra season of arbitration. He was kept down for six weeks. That extra six or so days in the minors cost him about $3 Million. Yeah, I would be upset, too.
The Marlins have indicated that they want young, cost controlled pitching for Ozuna. Guess what the Braves have a lot of now? I imagine Ozuna would probably center around something like a Matt Wisler or Lucas Sims, but I’m not really sure. Ozuna has a little work to do still, but he’s an above average offensive player (101 wRC+) so far in his career. He probably is a 2 – 2.5 WAR player with regular playing time, which is better than Markakis or Maybin were.
If the deal is right, do it…though we will need to shed some expensive chaff from the outfield.
So, Mark Richt is gone…
– Brandon A.
Chris: Yep. A large contingent of Georgia Bulldog fans populating message boards, Facebook, and Twitter received the news they’ve been waiting for:
From UGA release on Richt pic.twitter.com/FhtmPqQgGj
— David Ching (@ESPNChing) November 29, 2015
I’m sure Brent Blackwell will have more to say in greater detail, but my initial thoughts are that UGA athletic Director Greg McGarity and his merry band of boosters just took a blind step off of a ledge. Richt was not a particularly adept in-game tactician. His teams sometimes looked unprepared, and some might argue that he has under-performed with the talent at his disposal, especially so in recent years when the SEC East was down. He hasn’t won an SEC title in 10 years, and his program direction was said by some to be in decline.
All of those might be valid reasons to move in another direction. But at the same time, he’s won almost 75% of his games. He finished 9-3, and he’s averaged 10 wins a season over his tenure. For half of his time as a head coach, he’s had to coach against arguably the best college football coach in the modern era. Had a couple of funny shaped balls bounced differently, Richt gets into a national title game, and this never happens. Mark Richt isn’t a better or worse coach because Chris Conley caught a ball instead of batting it down a couple of years ago.
It seems the powers that be (and not just at UGA, apparently) want their coaches to be like Nick Saban. And that’s great. There is no doubting that Saban is the top coach in college football. But everyone can’t be ‘the best’. This strikes me as releasing Mickey Mantle because he isn’t Babe Ruth. None of that is to suggest that UGA shouldn’t have moved on, or that he is immune from criticism. The timing and the process, however, seem a little screwy.The UGA brass better hope they get the hire right.
So, who’s next? Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen, and Tom Herman have all been rumored to be on a short list. Everyone with a Twitter account apparently has an insider, a source, or their ‘guy in Athens’ who has said a deal is done with Herman that will be announced this week, a deal is done with Smart that will be announced Monday, or that Mullen is the preferred name. Everyone has a source these days. I feel so…uninformed.
Roasted Turkey, Fried Turkey, or Smoked Turkey?
– Robert K.
Chris: I’m a traditionalist, so I went with the simple oven roasted turkey. I’ve tried the fried turkey, and I’ve tried the smoked turkey. But I was cooking this year, so the odds of the house burning down are greatly reduced when I’m not near an open flame.