Looking at the 40-man

Atlanta Braves Team

There are actually 41 players, because Horacio’s on the 60-day DL right now. Questions:

1. Who gets the axe when Horacio’s ready to come back, assuming he is? Travis Smith?

2. I’m sure that the Braves wouldn’t go with 12 pitchers if they make the postseason — which certainly looks likely. The position players currently on the 40-man but not the 25 are a pretty motley lot:

Kelly Johnson
Mike Hessman
Tony Pena Jr.
Scott Thorman
Onil Joseph
Ryan Langerhans
DeWayne Wise

Of that group, Langerhans is the only one who doesn’t make me want to throw up. But the Braves’ best minor league hitter is Marte. Think that the Braves will promote him instead? Other possibilities would be Damon Hollins or James Jurries, but I think Langerhans makes more sense than either of them, and probably more than Marte. Personally, I’d prefer it if they went with ten pitchers, or even nine.

7 thoughts on “Looking at the 40-man”

  1. That’s not really fair to Kelly Johnson – he’s having a pretty good year. The rest of them, I agree – they’ll definitely be off the 40-man after this season.

  2. It’s going to be a weird September without Jesse Garcia around to pinch run. And please, let’s hope the Mike Hessman experiment is over.

  3. Yeah, ditch Smith. That’s an easy call. But is there any other team in baseball with more junk on their 40-man roster? Almanza, Drew, McConnell, Smith, Hessman, Wise–they might cost Richmond a game or two, but they’d be addition by subtraction for the big club. Sheesh.

    (Tim Drew, of course, is on the roster to give J.D. a posse, which is eminently reasonable given how important J.D. is to the team. But if J.D. walks–and last time I checked, Scott Boras is still Scott Boras–then Tim is waiver bait.)

    As a prospect Kelly Johnson is not noxious, but as a playoff pinch-hitter he would be Mike Hessman. I agree that Langerhans is the best we can do, short of a major-league waiver deal.

    Do we keep two utility infielders or one? I personally really would take Jesse Garcia: he can play shortstop, he doesn’t make mistakes, and he can pinch-hit singles off good pitchers. I’d probably take Green over DeRosa, but neither of them would be of any use whatsoever.

    Bullpen: Martin, Gryboski, Alf, Reitsma, Smoltz, Cruz. It would be sane to omit Gryboski and give Cruz more work, but that’s not going to happen. Starters: Wright, Ortiz, Hampton, and either Horacio or Thomson. I think Byrd is marginally more likely to pitch well than Thomson, but Thomson is under contract for next year and I think the value of not hurting his feelings is greater than the negligible possibility that Byrd would add significant value on the field. Also I’m the only person on the planet, except possibly Bobby Cox, who believes that Hampton would keep the Braves in the game if he started in the playoffs. He has experience in big games, and he’s better at damage control than Thomson or Byrd. If Horacio can’t start Game 3, Hampton should.

    This comes to about $0.17.

  4. This comes to about $0.17.

    Here’s a nickel’s worth of change — DeRosa of no use whatsoever?? Hey, I know the guy crapped out on his chance to start, but I don’t remember anyone ever asserting that he’s worthless. The point was always that he’s a useful and versatile bench player. One of the best utility infielders in the game, and I do mean that as a compliment.

  5. One wonders, however, of how much use a utility infielder would be in the playoffs with the Braves’ lineup. Furcal, Giles, and Chipper are the team’s 1, 2, and 4 hitters, rarely leave the lineup, and don’t need to be run for. The weakness of the Braves’ roster is that the first basemen are a platoon, the catchers should be a platoon, and all are godawful slow.

    In those circumstances, the Braves would be better off keeping only one utility infielder — probably DeRosa — and filling the rest of the bench with outfielders to pinch-run and pinch-hit. Arguably, Hollins, Langerhans, and Wise should all be on the team. But it’s a pretty radical restructuring of the team and I don’t think they’d do it.

  6. Okay, I hadn’t realized that DeRosa is hitting .400 in August (10 for 25). If he really has gotten his head back together–if he proves it by performing well in September–then yes, he’ll be useful in October.


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