Usually when I want to tout a model MLB franchise it's the Cardinals that I quickly resort to. 

St. Louis hasn't gone awry this offseason - not even in signing Jhonny Peralta - but since the calendar flipped to the unofficial middle of the decade the Braves have exercised the strength of their financial acumen.

I forgot my exact math so I'll try to summarize some research I did within the past six months. Since Albert Pujols had arrived, the Cardinals averaged something like 85ish wins over the past decade-plus. Basically, the Cardinals have awakened from winter, show up at spring training in the pennant races just by doing what they do.

My Cardinal colored glasses had me overlooking a Braves resume that was possibly more decorated, but more certainly lengthier. 

If you've lived within the MLB universe for at least a quarter of a century you recall the Braves run of NL East division titles. I'm sure they don't need you to remind them that all those postseasons netted them just World Series crown. 

I'll never forget the thought that was present in my 12 year old mind in 1991. 'The Braves(!!!) were going to the playoffs!?' I knew two things about the Braves before '91 - Dale Murphy and they stunk. Prior to winning the erstwhile NL West in '91, the Braves rotted baseball with the smell with six consecutive seasons of 5th place or worse finishes. In five of those pathetic years they lost at least 90 games. There may not have been Internet back in the '80s, but I could look at the back of a baseball card and tell you what bad baseball was. Atlanta Braves baseball in that dump Fulton County Stadium. 


With Greg Maddux having recently been given Hall of Fame honors, there's little reason for me to retell the eminence of those 90s Braves teams. 

When all was thrown, caught and swatted, the Braves had secured 14 straight division titles. (They were in 2nd, beyond who{??} during the strike shortened '94 campaign.)

Even in the mid-aughts as the Mets, then Phillies rose to NL East prominence the Braves never completely evaporated from division contention. 

Atlanta went from '06 to '12 without winning the East. Though they still won the Wild Card twice, and finished the year lower than third just a single time. 

More clearly put, in the years since 1991, when they DIDN'T win the division the Braves averaged 85 wins a year. 

If you've followed hot stove moves and payroll traits of MLB teams over the years, you'd know the Braves - as successful as they've been - are not the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, or Tigers. 


They're also not the Athletics or Rays. 

The Braves could be considered modest spenders having crossed the $100 million threshold just twice since 2000 per Cots at Baseball Prospectus

This year the Braves uncharacteristically(?) committed a Yankee-like 1/4 of a billions dollars to future contracts. 

135 to Freddie Freeman

13.3 to Jason Heyward

32.4 to Julio Teheran

58 to Andrelton Simmons

And a LARGE annual committment with 42 over 4 to Craig Kimbrel. *That's a vault for my usual tastes at closer but he's essentially Mo now.*

Roughly $280 million. 

But, they've been proactive and secured what they believe - and they better damn well hope - is the foundation of the future of their success. 

I'll bet on the Braves with those committments. In addition to another 6 combined years of Uptons, and potentially further team-friendly deals to Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen etc...on the horizon. 

The Cardinals have drafted, developed and traded in shrewd fashions.

It appears the Braves have 'extended' just the same to ensure their future success.

The Angels also seem to be on the precipice of the finest bargain in the history of professional sports contracts; getting Mike Trout signed for 6 or 7 years around $150 million. That'll help offset the scourges of the Hamilton and Pujols deals they're plagued with. 

Who was the most exciting player in this year's free agency? Maybe Shin Soo Choo, who scored $130 million (to walk & not hit lefties) from the Rangers. 

That's not pennies, but it's not what A-Rod ISN'T making, nor Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke or Prince Fielder ARE making, having been nearly recent free agent additions. 

Possibly the best outfielder available in the 2015 free agent class, Brett Gardner, was extended by the Yankees yesterday

Free agency will have a new, and even uglier face moving forward in MLB. Few available star-type players, and the money they receive because of the limits of the supply just may be nauseating, for fans and those endorsing checks. 


All that to spin the soundtrack I've been playing all winter in regards to the Tigers.

Forget about Scherzer at this point. For the Tigers to give themselves a reasonable chance to ensure future success, their financial focus should immediately shift to Rick Porcello, before his price becomes somewhat absurd. 

Pound for financial pound, a Porcello extension, to me, is more vital than one doled out for Scherzer. 

It's possibly, but unlikely, the Tigers could have themselves an upcoming offseason much like what the Braves have done over the last month.

Porcello. Extended (72 for 6?). The same can be thought of for Drew Smyly. Also, Austin Jackson, whom I'm expecting a breakout season, but interest in a deal there may be futile thanks to Scott Boras being his represensation.

Lastly, I realize he hasn't even won the starting job at third yet, but after this season, to pattern the Braves, it's not ridiculous to consider an extention for Nick Castellanos. 

Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera are the core of the current Tigers potentially winning a World Series, but those other names I've mentioned should be the fulcrum of what most fans truly crave. 

Enduring, lasting, almost monotonous prosperity.