Content theft

Shh, don’t tell anyone!

Baseball Prospectus | Articles | Transaction Analysis: July 15-19

Yes, they’re back, but what’s particularly fun is how they’re back. On the offensive side of the ledger, they’re back at full strength now that Giles is back. But more basically, the lineup has been reconfigured. Instead of Chipper Jones in left, he’s at third. That’s produced two interrelated benefits. First, it’s moved Mark DeRosa into the utility role he’s made for, helping to wipe Jesse Garcia off of the roster because Nick Green has been everything DeRosa or Wilson Betemit have not. How long Green can stick around as an infield reserve is an open question, since he really only plays second, but as long as DeRosa’s on the bench, it isn’t a major issue.

More importantly, by moving Chipper into the infield, the Braves have made space for a platoon of Charles Thomas and Eli Marrero in left. Now, no, I don’t expect Rogers to keep hitting like he wants to permanently erase the memory of Dion James, but I don’t expect him to segue into Ralph Garr flashbacks either. Seamhead purists might note that if Thomas hits more like we might expect, that doesn’t add up to a great-hitting outfielder, and that’s true–but that’s the abstract comparison. Here in reality, the Braves needed an offensive improvement over what they were getting from DeRosa’s playing time. Although they sort of fell into it on the go, it’s easier to find outfielders who can out-hit utility infielders than it is to find good offensive outfielders growing on trees.

No more Garcia. No more Dewayne Wise. No more DeRosa getting five or six starts per week. Instead, you’ve got Giles, a platoon that’s putting runs on the board, a stronger bench, and the chance that Adam LaRoche adjusts and gets hot down the stretch. Leo Mazzone may have Wrighted Jaret, but now that Paul Byrd is back, he might not need to fix Mike Hampton or John Thomson. Horacio Ramirez will be back for the stretch run. That might put Thomson in the pen, and keep both of them out of the postseason rotation if and when the time comes.

So, without a blue chip prospect or a major deal, the Braves are back. It’s enough to make a grown Bowa weep.

8 thoughts on “Content theft”

  1. Well, we were alone in 1st place for a whole day. I am scared that Giles may have hurt his shoulder though, and I think Philadelphia noticed too.

    I know Furcal is fast but its not often the visiting manager walks the bases loaded with only one out only to face our best hitter.

    I hope it is something he can shrug off, he is a pistol out there.

  2. I think people are being awfully hard on Reitsma for last night and too easy on Furcal. Yes, Reitsma is been lousy and was pretty bad last night. But you can’t give away outs late in games like Furcal did. He is simply too unreliable as a shortstop, too much like Rafael Ramirez but a better offensive player. He makes too many errors on routine plays and, yes, he makes a lot of spectacular plays, but his errors are just costing too much in my opinion. I am not convinced he’s a good enough offensive player to make up for his inconsistent defense.

  3. Yes, he booted the ball, …but his bat, glove, and speed has won many games for us too. All I have to do is think back to Blauser’s bad days (throwing to 1st base and just barely missing…with the ball landing 7 rows back up in the stands) or even to our big mid-season trade for Jose Hernandez…Yup, THAT guy was going to take us to the series.

    There are many teams out there that would love to have Furcal, I am not ready to give up on him just yet.

  4. I think that Furcal gets more outs with his arm than he loses with his errors, so while I really don’t like them I know he is still doing some awesome stuff out there.

  5. Furcal’s error was indeed huge – it turned the situation from two out and nobody one to two on and nobody out. It doesn’t get much more huge than that.

  6. Yup, unfortunately we cannot choose when errors should occur…if we could then they would be called something else.

    Well, we are back in familiar territory once again. Hopefully it wont be too long before we are back in a tie for 1st.

  7. There is just no excuse for fundamental errors on routine plays. Furcal does some great things and his range gets the team some outs that other teams don’t get. I don’t mind when he makes an error on balls that more than half the shortstops in baseball wouldn’t even get to. But that is where the trade-off needs to be calculated. Not on routine muffs.

  8. The Braves have had problems all year with middle infielders screwing up plays, especially potential double plays. Typically, they’ve come on the “trying to do too much” attempts, where someone — often Jesse Garcia — would try to get an out at second and either turn it into a fielder’s choice, everyone reaches, or throw it into (left/right, depending on where he was playing). Giles, Furcal, DeRosa, and LaRoche have all done it too; I think Green and Franco are the only ones innocent. Let’s not even think about the pitchers trying to get runners tagged out at third. “Aggressive” infield play has probably cost the team three games in the standings.

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