Despite having one of the most unlucky seasons in baseball history in regards to pitcher win-loss record, Shelby Miller had himself a good season in 2015, and while he wasn't an ace-quality performer for the entire season (though we'll definitely take a season of 3.02 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 0.57 HR/9 for 3.4 fWAR), he definitely showed flashes of that potential. Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Braves try to lock Miller down for the foreseeable future. How much would that cost, though? MLB Trade Rumors decided to try to figure out the ins and outs of a potential Shelby Miller contract extension, and whether or not Miller would even want one after this season.
...Would Miller even be interested in an extension? He already banked one nice payday when he signed for a $2.875MM bonus with the Cardinals after being drafted in 2009, and he’ll earn something in that $4.9MM range next year. Miller is on pace to get healthy raises in his final two arbitration years anyway, so he could very well decide to bet on himself with an eye towards free agency and avoid a long-term commitment. If the CAA client betters his current form and makes the leap from very good pitcher to full-blown ace, Miller would be costing himself some money by locking himself into an extension now.
The Braves would have to make it worth Miller’s while, therefore, for him to sign away one or two of his free agent years. A straight club option for 2019 likely wouldn’t be enough unless it had an easily-reachable vesting option. Corey Kluber‘s extension with the Indians could be a model in this regard. The two club option years that cover what would’ve been Kluber’s first two free agent seasons can rise in value by up to $4MM based on performance escalators, turning a potential extra $27.5MM for Kluber into as much as $35.5MM over those two seasons.
ESPN baseball analysr Tim Kurkjian recently made an appearance on the Dan LeBetard Show, and he was asked about which current bad team would be the next one to make the leap to relevancy. Kurkjian let it be known that he believes that the Braves could be pretty good soon and that he's buying in to the rebuilding process that John Hart, John Coppolella, and co. are currently implementing in Atlanta. It's a short video, but it's worth watching.
The Braves have done plenty of wheeling and dealing this season, but the smartest deal that they pulled off has to be the trade for Touki Toussaint. Should the talented prospect (who is ranked #69 in mlb.com's prospect rankings and #2 in the Braves' system) actually realize his potential and become useful at the Major League level, then this will turn out to be one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory. Considering what little the Braves gave up, this might already be one of the most lopsided trades.
The team's made their offseason plans clear: They absolutely have to improve certain areas of the team -- such as the bullpen -- but, they also have to do so with a slightly increased-but-still-relatively-small budget. So, knowing what the free agent market looks like and knowing what their budgetary limits are, how are the Braves going to be both aggressive and frugal this offseason? Our friends over at Tomahawk Take tried to figure that out.
The first two games of the NLCS went about as well as possible for the New York Mets, and now they'll be taking a 2-0 series lead to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field after they beat the Cubs 4-1 on Sunday evening. Anti-Cubs fan Curtis Granderson did most of the damage for the Mets on the night, and meanwhile Daniel Murphy continued to rake at an absurdly high level. Seriously, what's gotten into Daniel Murphy as of late?