Moments before Opening Day many Braves fans including myself facepalmed WTFingly at the Chad Durbin signing and continued do so pretty much every time FG deferred to the bullpen, cringing at the uncertainty that he might bring in the aforementioned two-legged batting cage machine. How dare the FO shatter Gearrin and Flande's dreams of making the Bigs for this guy. The guys even started making a tradition out of immediately buying a pitcher of brew as soon as the team would use its AT&T call to the bullpen to request the services of #32. Sometimes it seems it would be better if Roger had called Bmac or Chipper instead for small talk.
But a month in to the season I am seeing why FW made the unpopular signing. Maybe I'm just really high on the hot early start, or maybe I'm just really high on FW, or maybe I'm just really high, but I want to comfort you, as a fellow Braves' fan, on this one sour note of an otherwise beautifully put together team, while defending the FO.
The Durbin signing was a high(low?)light in an otherwise quiet off-season. The FO knew that even with injuries and players underperforming that last year's team was good, and if that same exact team had another 162 game sample there was a very good chance they could do better, especially with the nucleus of very good, developing young players. Two main contributing factors that one could point to last seasons forgettable demise are (1) losing Chipper to injuries and consequently losing a valuable middle-of-the-lineup bat AND (2) the Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo that we had in the back of our bullpen ran out of gas at the end of the season. The first issue was handsomely dealt with the acquisition of Juan Francisco.
Leading up to Opening Day, the second issue seemingly was going to be left to promising but young arms and FG's bullpen management (AHH!) and we all saw how those two combinations fizzled all too well last season. Before looking at Durbin's numbers last year I was upset because I was sympathic for Gearrin/Flande and he only added to the flame. I didn't mind the Livan signing as much because I was more familiar with him, but I still didn't like it due to the same reason of Gearrin/Flande getting low-balled. But I've started to look passed that and realize that those two have a bright future and it doesn't make sense to hinder their development and start their service clocks early at the back of the bullpen, especially a bullpen that is managed by FG.
Signing two low-cost veterans to eat up innings while our arms develop makes sense, as long as one of them proves to be serviceable. Fredi loves veterans, probably too much, but it prevents him from getting to overuse or abuse the promising young arms we have on both the major and minor front. As long as one turns out half-decent and the other just eats up innings in low-leverage situations, which isn't asking a lot, it's a very good move. When Moylan is ready to come back, hopefully the latter, who is Durbin at this point, will be the odd man out. Then, when an inevitable injury occurs, our more developed young arms can come up with confidence and something to prove.
For the moment, just be glad he's not Scott Proctor. And have a beer.