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Mailbag 4/7

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In which I write a full-on baseball article in response to one question.

Man, I'm gonna miss this
Man, I'm gonna miss this
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Mon. Night: ACC solidarity or Whisky because HateDook?

I know this won't be seen until Tuesday, but I can assure you that I am answering this question Sunday afternoon. I'm going with Duke. And there's only really one reason why: a lot of coin flips. I'm sticking by my coin-flip bracket which selected Duke as the winner, although it's gotten virtually everything else wrong.

If you were granted a superpower, what would it be?

I would probably want control over the elements Avatar: the Last Airbender style (for those who have seen that series). It was a show that I thoroughly enjoyed for its entirety, and I always thought it was really cool how they characters could control various elements (earth, air, fire and water), while mixing it with different forms of martial arts. It's just something that intrigues me.

Cool or a disaster if defense wins spring game?

Expected. Despite the weather conditions during last season's spring game, the offense still turned the ball over numerous times; enough that quite a few fans (myself included) were very concerned that that was how the offense would look last season.

Now, I think the offense turned out just fine. They only finished like first in offensive FEI and set the record there, but they were decent for a high school offense, I guess.

I have high expectations for the defense this season (especially the D-Line), so I fully expect the defense to win this year's spring game, especially since the offense always looks slow in the spring game.

How soon do we get Kel Johnson back?

So far, nothing has been announced.

Will UNC actually get penalized in a significant way by the NCAA any time in our lifetime? And when and what will it be?

Hahahahahaha.....that's funny. Oh wait, it's not April Fool's day? They'll probably get a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to.

There's a new 10 team format for the expanded ACC this year, with the 7 through 10 seeds playing a single elimination game just to get into the double elimination brackets. Right now at the halfway point the Jackets are in danger of being in that play-in. Who will step up and pitch us into a safer spot? Our offense and defense seem solid.

In the event of a play-in game, there's two pitchers that I'm looking at: Jonathan King and Brandon Gold. They've been our two best starters this season and I honestly think it will be a tough decision for Danny Hall. Do you go with the guy who's got more experience or the guy who's pitched some really good games this season?

Just based off of King's struggles the last couple weekends, I will say that if the play-in game were to happen right now, I'd go with Brandon Gold, though Zac Ryan wouldn't be a terrible option either.

Now that Kimbrel has been traded to San Diego, how unwatchable will the Braves be for the next 3 years?

I'm actually not as opposed to this trade as most people are. While I'm not happy that the Braves traded one of my favorite players (quite a few actually from earlier this offseason), I understand each move from a business aspect. Since your question was solely about Kimbrel, I'll only share my thoughts on that trade.

OK, so first, I want to take a look at what we gave up. Obviously, we lost one of the best, if not the best, closer in all of baseball who was on a fairly affordable contract for the next few years. That's not all we gave up, though. We also gave up Melvin Upton, Jr. who for the last two years has been an absolute abomination for the Braves and a waste of money.

In giving up both players and the entirety of each of their contracts, the Braves unloaded $46 million from Kimbrel's contract (including his team option) which would have been paid out over the next four seasons (source) and $46.35 million from Upton's contract which would have been paid out over the next three season (source). In total that is $92.35 million ($79.35 million if you take out Kimbrel's option) that the Braves would have had to pay out over the next four seasons.

Now in completing this trade, the Braves also took on two pretty big contracts in Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin. Quentin is set to make $18 million (source) over the next two season (including his mutual option, which since the Braves are planning on DFA-ing him, I don't really see as a possibility), and Maybin is set to make $24 million (including his team option, which again, I see as unlikely) over the next three seasons (source). Combined, that is $42 million over three seasons.

That's a pretty big difference in money there. In total, the Braves (should all the money from all of the contracts be paid out) are saving on average just over $9 million per season by making this trade. This doesn't even get into the prospects they got.

Matt Wistler, by some accounts, was rated as the top prospect in the Padres organization. Baseball America even has him rated as the No. 34 prospect in the country (source). He also instantly became the Braves second-best prospect (source). The ranking system used there has a grade of 50 as average. His fastball and changeup both grade at 60, which is above average, while his slider, control and overall grade at 55.

What's even better about him is that he is nearly MLB-ready. He could very easily be on the major league club very soon.

The other guy we got is a little raw, but definitely has some crazy potential. Jordan Paroubeck came in and was inserted as the Braves No. 24 prospect (source). He's a switch-hitting outfielder that has good speed/power potential. It also helps that he had a pretty good hitting tutor. You may have heard of him. His name is Barry Bonds. Even before being suspected of using PEDs, Bonds was still a fantastic hitter and a consistent 30-30 threat. I'm not saying Paroubeck will be the next Bonds, but he's got a good teacher.

But was all of this worth Kimbrel? I think so. I'm quite aware that Kimbrel has had 40 saves each of the last four seasons and that he is easily one of the best pitchers in baseball. But what I'm saying is that we don't need to spend money on a player of his caliber at his position. Looking at his stats, I've also noticed some trends.

First of all, in each of the last three seasons, his ERA has increased. Now look at his strikeouts and walks. Those are both going in the wrong direction. His strikeouts have decreased in each of the last four seasons, while walks have increased in the last three. Look at his WHIP. It has also steadily increased the last three seasons. None of those are good trends.

I'm not saying this because I think Kimbrel is going to fall apart; I don't. I also think, however, that he will regress some. He is starting to get older and his arm will start to get more wear and tear. That fatigue will affect his arm and as hard as he throws, that could lead to other issues which I will not mention because I'm superstitious like that.

So, all in all, I think both teams did an excellent job with this trade. The Braves dropped their biggest contract burden while also gaining two potentially really good prospects. The Padres added one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Really, it's a win-win.

If Duke wins, you should keep that coin. As for questions, what will the weather be like for the Spring game?

Unfortunately, I'm not actually sure what happened to the exact coin I used to make my picks. It's quite a tragedy, but I'll just be happy if I win (note: this was written Sunday night, so I don't know the outcome of the game :D).

With the Spring game still being two weeks away and this being Georgia weather that we're dealing with, there's honestly no telling what the weather will be like. It could be snowing for all we know. That would actually make for a very interesting Spring game. One, that if I lived close enough to where I wouldn't have to drive through the snow, I would go.

My gut instinct, though, tells me it's not going to snow. I would say don't bank on anything, but it'll probably be either sunny or rainy. #WeatherAnalysis

Is Paul Millsap done for the year? If he is, what playoff round do the Hawks lose in?

Millsap is only supposed to miss two games (as of Monday), so the Hawks will be fine.

What's your take on the NCAA's ruling on the UNC case?

Like I said above, we'll never see anything more than a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to.