Déjà Vu

Braves Journal: I don’t like it

I quote myself, March of last year, in the context of the Reitsma deal:

“Danny Kolb? Ugh. Guy has one good half-season, and suddenly he’s worth Trey Hodges and Wilson Betemit? How many righthanded relievers does one team need?”

Considering Hodges is now in Japan, I sure wish they’d made that trade. And yes, the stuff said about Reitsma then is pretty much what’s said about Kolb now. For example:

Reitsma seems to have found his niche in the bullpen. His lack of a reliable offspeed pitch was a liability as a starter. But in a relief role, Reitsma comes right at hitters with his explosive sinker, which he consistently throws in the mid-90s and which accounts for him having nearly two groundball out for every flyball. He also shows a moving four-seam fastball that rides in on lefthanded hitters. He remains prone to home runs, especially when he leaves the four-seamer over the plate. And he will show his changeup perhaps too frequently. When Reitsma is leaning on his sinker, he is a very effective pitcher for four or five outs. His control has improved, both in terms of limiting his walks and also being ahead in the count.

9 thoughts on “Déjà Vu”

  1. Marc, I know you don’t like this deal, and you often compare Kolb to Reitsma. However, if you look closer into Kolb’s stats, you will realise Reitsma was never as good as Kolb. At least Reitsma was never an All-Star. Second, Kolb is not prone to homerun as his stats will show. He holds the batting average against him at .233.

    I have predicted all along that they will trade for Kolb because he is too affordable at a predicted salary of $3M. The fact that we have to give up Capellan surprises me though. However, perhaps it is because I believe Kolb is not eligible for free agency until 2007 (I think) factors into this trade. I always thought we will drop Reitsma and a prospect to the Brewers for Kolb. Anyhow, trading for Kolb will effectively solves our problem with the starting rotation, and this will leave us with enough money to make a run at an one-year + one option year deal with Ordonez assumption they will work out a three-year with no starting bonus contract with Smoltz (I am sure they will get this done). So, the rotation will be Smoltz, Hampton, Thomson, Bryd and Rameriz. This sounds great as long as Smoltz is healthy, and Drew would potentially be replaced by Ordonez.

  2. Citing an ESPN scouting report for Reitsma does not bolster any claims that he and Kolb are redundant acquisitions. Reitsma’s pitched more innings than Kolb, but Kolb has gaffed much less than Reitsma. Kolb will definitely pitch better in Atlanta than Reitsma did.

  3. I’m not so torn up about trading Capellan. Its who we traded for. Kolbs numbers don’t say dominant closer. The lack of strikouts in particular. The numbers are all I can go by since I’ve never seen him pitch. I’m wondering if all of the ghosts of Braves pitching prospects past are making people wary of trading with us. Ok just kidding but I agree with Brad Dowdy on this one. Losing Capellan doesn’t break my heart but losing him for Dan Kolb kinda does. I’ve always thought that putting Smoltz back into the rotation on a short leash was the best use of his ability, but I’ve always hedged because I’m just not sure how durable he is anymore.

  4. The news here isn’t Kolb, and it ain’t Capellan. I was just reading Jayson Stark’s little tidbit on having John Smoltz back in the rotation, and I found myself getting excited. You know, I’m going to follow his every start, hope against hope that he’ll dominate. It’s awesome to have someone who you’ll really want to root for — root because he’s the elder Brave, because he’s trying to make that transition back to a starter, because he’s got a lot to prove, because you know he can dominate as well as any pitcher in baseball. Awesome.

    Yeah, we could dwell on Kolb. But how more fun is it to wonder about Smoltz? Boy, I hope his elbow holds up!

  5. I don’t especially like it either, but I also don’t especially like the idea of second-guessing John Schuerholz. He hasn’t led us wrong yet…

  6. Here’s an interesting tidbit about Kolb from this morning’s AJC:

    “Kolb converted 39 of 44 saves for a team that won 67 games. He had an 0.82 ERA and 26 saves in through July 6, before the Brewers slumped and his save chances became sporadic.”

    Smoltz also struggled a bit when his save chances were sporadic last year. When he was getting in more games, he stepped up to the plate. I’m not trying to say Kolb is Smoltz, just saying when he pitched more than every 10 days, he can do well.

    This is not a bad trade. You get a good starter without giving up Giles, although I wouldn’t have minded seeing Hudson here IF they could have signed him to an extension when the trade was made. Otherwise, you’re giving up a very good 2nd baseman for a one year rental.

  7. Well once again another top pitching prospect is traded away. I don’t know much about Kolb but according to some of the messages on the board he was pretty good last year. I just hope he’s not going to be a one year wonder. As anyone heard if the Braves are officially out of the Hudson negotiations, since we won’t give up Giles?

  8. I haven’t seen much of Kolb (being the Brewers’ closer doesn’t lend itself to a particularly high profile), but here’s some info culled from various sources:

    Baseball Prospectus, 2003:
    Kolb returned from a rotator cuff tear in mid-season and once again impressed with his stuff if not his numbers. Despite all of his arm problems, he hasn’t yet gone the junkballer route, still throwing a sinking fastball in the mid-90s and a vicious slider. Signed to a one-year contract, he’s part of the Rangers middle relief picture for this year, at least until his next catastrophic arm breakdown. The over/under on that is May 15.

    Today’s AJC:
    (Brewers pitching coach Mike) Maddux taught him to rely on his sinker instead of trying to blow 95-97 mph fastballs past hitters, which led to injuries. He works in the 92-93 mph range with his fastball and throws a good split-finger pitch, and he’s been healthy for two seasons.

    His ESPN player card:

    Seems like what we have here is a guy who can throw very hard, but has moderated his approach due to some injuries and added a sinker. He has had a couple of seasons (albeit in limited playing time) where he’s struck out a man per inning, so it doesn’t seem like he lacks stuff. The low ’04 K totals may be, at least partially, a function of approach.

  9. I wonder what team would fit a guy who can throw hard, but learns the importance of pitch variety and location…

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