They’re just nuts

Baseball America – Chat

Brad is too polite to say it, but the people at Baseball America are insane. They rated Francouer, not Marte, the best prospect in the system. This is a pure “tools” choice in the classic BA style, and makes no sense whatsoever except if you care about nothing but a player’s theoretical upside. I mean, Jeff Francouer could turn into Willie Mays, but it’s very, very, very, very unlikely. He’s not really likely to even be Dale Murphy. Meanwhile, Andy Marte has an excellent chance of being a perennial All-Star and winning a few home run titles. So he doesn’t run fast, whoopie-doo.

Look, here’s what one of BA’s own writers had to say about Francoeur: “I see him at Double-A Mississippi after he failed to walk once in just 76 at-bats at Double-A Greenville last year.” No walks, 76 at-bats. Wes Helms would be hard-pressed to do that. Travis Wilson probably could.

They do this all the time, and it drives me nuts. I mean, what’s better to have, a lottery ticket or a 100 shares of stock in a growing company? The BA philosophy would be that it’s the lottery ticket, because you might win a million dollars.

39 thoughts on “They’re just nuts”

  1. Hehe – I’m not to nice to say it, but I could see it coming from a mile away, so I wasn’t really surprised.

  2. At least BA seems aware that Horacio Ramirez still exists, something that has escaped ESPN and others who project Kyle Davies as the fifth starter.

  3. Yeah, but it is Baseball America after all where if you have the ‘uncanny knack for putting the barrel of the bat on the ball’, can run and look good in underwear they annoint you the next star. I think Jeff is good but for Chrisakes lets see him play in AA before annointing him anything. Marte has had success at AA, plays a harder position and just hits the daylights out of the ball. I agree with you Mac, in an earlier posting you said we see him in LF sometime around mid season. If he starts tearing it up in Richmond (if the field has drained by then) we will see him next season.

    Hey did anyone notice that the Reds have officially ended the Kearns to 3b experiment and signed Joe Randa? Hello Mr. O’brien this is John Schuerholz here and do I have a deal for you.

  4. Good Grief! Don’t let than guy in the showers when Francoeur is in there. He seemed to be having a When Harry Met Sally moment while discussing Jeff and Andy.

    “…Francoeur’s body looks better for the long haul than the way Marte’s has filled out of late. Marte is a stud, but Francoeur has the total package…”

    I’m glad we have Brad to keep tabs on Braves prospects.

  5. Kinda scary isn’t it. Drew signed for 5 years, $55 million. Good luck Dodgers! That’s too long a contract for the Bravos, and way too much money. He’s fragile like Brian Jordan.

    What are the thoughts on what to do with Furcal? Arbitration may get him close to $8 million for next year, with what the Angels and Red Sox paid for their guys. I think with the premiums being put on good SS, they could trade him for some good OF help or a pitcher, then sign Giles to a 3-4 years deal at $6 million/year like they did with Chipper’s first contract. They could also free up more money for Hudson. Someone is willing to give Furcal a 4 year deal at around $8-10 million year.

    It looks like the prices are escalating pretty quickly right now with some of the more recent contracts. Someone might even pay Millwood close to $8-10 million/year for a few years.

    Other than Boras being his agent, I think Ordonez would be a great pickup, in the vein of Pudge. Pudge got a bad rap for a few injuries, but he is still a better player than most out there. Ordonez has the tools, he just has to show his knee is healed. He’ll probably go to someone for a year then get a better than Drew deal in 2006.

  6. Honestly, I think we should try to sign Furcal to a modest extension now. We don’t have anyone ready to step up at short, and if we can get him to agree to a below market extension, that would prevent us from having to find another shortstop. If that doesn’t work a trade might be the only other option next off season.

  7. “If that doesn’t work a trade might be the only other option next off season.”

    Furcal’s a free agent next offseason. No dice.

  8. >>What are the thoughts on what to do with Furcal? Arbitration may get him close to $8 million for next year, with what the Angels and Red Sox paid for their guys.

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  10. I hear rumors that STL is going to try to sign Eckstein to play 2B. I didn’t realize FA was already upon us with Furcal. I don’t think JS is going to trade him now, what with the acquisition of Hudson putting us in the thick of contention, but we’d be better off getting some value for him before he walks, because we surely won’t be shelling out Renteria money for him.

  11. Maybe the Braves could trade Furcal to the Cards along with Ramirez for Edmonds. He’s got 2 years at $9.8 and $12 per plus an option in 2007 at $10. Then the Braves could get Eckstein. Since his brother is a coach at Georgia, it may help him being closer to him. I bet the Cards would go for it, although it would be a good trade for the Braves too. I know Edmonds would have to move to right, but that’s a good thing.

    Just a thought.

    The downside is you lose your leadoff hitter, although you could move Giles to the one hole and Andruw or LaRoche to #2. The upside is a good cleaup hitter batting behind Chipper and before Estrada.

  12. This is scary. At first, we reaped the benefits of Billy Beane’s dim financial situation by getting Hudson, now we are almost in the same position as Beane by having to part with Furcal before he becomes a FA.

    I would love to see Eckstein play for the Braves. I’m just as hardcore about stats as the next guy, but guys like Eckstein are what championship teams are made of. Living 30 minutes away from the University of Florida, I got to watch a lot of David Eckstein and he’s a hardcore gamer. I know I don’t have any proof, but he just plays wide-open, balls-to-the-wall, kinda like Marcus Giles. Those crazy bastards up the middle and Andruw Jones in CF would make for a fun team to watch.

  13. Why pay Eckstien when you have Betemit, Green or could re sign DeRosa who is a better player than all 3 of them for the minimum. I don’t think we are going to part with Furcal. His power is the one thing that makes him an above average SS in this league and its one of the reasons Schuerholz isn’t too worried about getting a plus bat for the outfield. When your middle infielders can combine for 25 or 30 homers a league avg outfielder will do. I think that was why they tried DeRosa at 3rd last season.
    The trade scenario of Furcal to the Cards is intriguing but the guy I’d trade for would be Larry Walker. I know the guy is crystal but when he is good he is a dominating type of bat.
    Wow, DePodesta is spending a crap load of money on Drew. Jeez 11 mil per year. If you had told me that he would have commanded that at the beginning of the Hot Stove I’d have said you’re nuts. I guess the salary correction has re-corrected. Beltran and Boras must be ecstatic.

  14. If he stays healthy, I think Drew’s worth every cent. If I were a GM I would have signed him to that for sure. The guy is a solid bet to be one of the 10 best position players in the majors every year of that contract.

    Seriously, think of all the guys who are paid more than 11m a year.

    With apologies to Johnny E., that guy was the total package, and I’m sad we let him go.

  15. I totally agree with you that Drew is worth that salary that LA is paying him — but only so long as he’s healthy, and I think that’s the whole point. I can think of a lot of guys worse than Drew for $11mil, but I can also think of guys who are healthy more often just every other year, once every three years, or whatever it is that Drew’s career has been like. I wanted him back, even at $11mil, but I would have been awfully anxious at all those years. It’s LA’s gamble at this point.

  16. I guess my point was that the salary structure has escalated tremendously during this Hot Stove season. Can you imagine anyone giving Drew 55 mil last season? In the current climate 11 mil per for a guy who can play like Drew (breathtaking ballplayer) IS pretty fair. What I find crazy is the years that DePodesta is willing to pay that. Given Drew’s history this contract has bad future contract written all over it. Troy you are right he has the potenial to be one of the best position players but he also has the history that says ‘guy sitting on the bench eating 11 million of my payroll’ too.
    Man DePodesta is taking Moneyball to a new meaning as in since I have plenty of it lets have a ball with it. Its interesting to see the transformation that Schuerholz has made. In essence he has 40 mil to play with give or take a couple of mil. He makes Wright and Drew fair offers based a lot on last winters market for 3 years. Then gets blown away by a couple of teams that have more money than sense. If another mid market team comes along, gets hot and wins the World Series, there are going to be more than a few GMs on the hot seat.

  17. I agree. He could be the JD Drew of this past year. 5 years is a lot, but it shows the market correction reversed. Look at Renteria and Cabrerra also. No way should Renteria be worth as much as Pudge. He got more than Nomar, even though with a good year, Nomar will get back to $15 per that Boston offered him before he was sent away.

    I hope they keep Furcal, but if they don’t sign him long term this off-season, they will pay big next year, and I don’t think they would do that. All Furcal has to do is stay healthy and he’ll get $10 per for 4-5 years. I would focus on tying up Giles and Hudson, then make a spring training trade to get something for Furcal.

  18. Eckstein is not a SS folks. I know that’s where he lines up, but as a SS, he makes a fine 2B. The man has no arm. As Bill James once said in another context, he gets the ball over to 1st in roughly the time it takes a gorilla to complete a Rubik’s cube. I wouldn’t pay him a nickel to play the position, no matter how dirty he gets his uniform.

    But I guess it would be neat in a trivial sense to go directly from the best arm in the history of the position to the unquestioned worst.

  19. Bwarrend, what’s the source? (And did they not say which outfielder?) Anyone at all decent would be worth Betemit.

    Also, I saw that Pee-hands is now a teammate of Barry Bonds. What was that someone was saying on another thread about the things athletes do to their bodies to stay at peak? ;)

  20. What about trading for Shawn Green? I’m sure the Dodgers will eat some of his salary, and they have been interested in Derek Lowe and Kevin Millwood. I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to get him, considering they just signed Drew and have Choi at first. Ramirez for Green and cash?

  21. Batting behind Bonds, Alou will have 130 ribbies. And the Giants outfield defense will allow 150 extra runs. Man, that is a bunch of old and slow outfielders.

    I think Drew’s injuries are being overplayed. Yes, he has been hurt a lot. But even more of his missed playing time was because Tony Larussa thought of him as a pure platoon player ala Ryan Klesko with even less of an excuse.

    [i]What are the thoughts on what to do with Furcal? Arbitration may get him close to $8 million for next year, with what the Angels and Red Sox paid for their guys.[/i]

    The FA contracts to Cabrera and Renteria will have virtually no effect on the Furcal arbitration hearing. Service class is a HUGE factor in arbitration and a Arb3 player will virtually never be compared to a FA because the market is notably different. My prediction is he doesn’t go over $6m and even at that, it would be almost a 100% raise.

  22. This is scary. At first, we reaped the benefits of Billy Beane’s dim financial situation by getting Hudson, now we are almost in the same position as Beane by having to part with Furcal before he becomes a FA

    I doubt JS will do this. he hardly ever (or maybe even never) has traded a player just because he was soon to become a free agent.

  23. Yeah, because there was a shot at re-signing them back in the day. Today, that’s different. He may be forced financial into that line of thought.

  24. I think that the Braves agree on a contract with Furcal before arbitration. I agree with bamadan about salary a 100% increase in pay. I disagree with bamadan about Drew. They wanted him to play full time but he couldn’t because of his various maladies. Their frustration with him is how we got him.
    Green has a no trade. He won’t go unless he gets an extension.

  25. I’m also all for signing Furcal to an extension ASAP. He’s likely to hold his value for the next 3 or 4 seasons, and despite his errors he brings a lot to the table — a heck of a lot more than Eckstein, whom I enjoy watching as much as anyone.

    I didn’t think of it before it happened, but isn’t Alou signing with the Giants the most predictable thing that could possibly have happened this offseason?

  26. It was part of the Braves blog on, which I don’t have access to. I think it is wishful thinking on somebody’s part.

  27. Yeah, because there was a shot at re-signing them back in the day. Today, that’s different. He may be forced financial into that line of thought.

    I still don’t see it. JS knows this is a team whose window should have closed years ago; it has remained open because he goes into every offseason committed to putting the best team on the field for the next season – not the season after that. For instance, he traded neither Maddux nor Glavine when he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford to keep both (and, it appears, wesn’t really enthused about keeping either, as demonstrated by the Maddux-accepts-arb debacle). This past offseason he could have traded Ortiz, but didn’t.

    I think his appproach is to put the best team ont he field to start the season. if we get to the trade deadline and are out of contention, then he’ll unload Furcal (and likely Thomson and Hudson). But as long as this team has a shot at contention, he won’t trade someone just to plan for next year.

  28. There’s no frame of reference for what Schuerholz might do if the Braves are out of contention in midseason, so it’s hard to predict. Not that I think such a situation is imminent, but even if it did happen I would be surprised if JS traded Furcal. Sure, he’s about to get expensive, but there’s no one in the system who’s remotely capable of replacing him. Pitchers and outfielders grow on trees compared to effective shortstops — Furcal is a much less replaceable asset, so it makes sense to spend a little extra on the position, IMO>

  29. I agree with sansho1 that Furcal is a “much less replaceable asset” as a shortstop, not to mention that he has been the Braves’ most effective lead-off hitter since the days of Otis Nixon. Giles could fill that role, sure, but he’s much more dangerous at the plate when Furcal is on base. JS will keep Furcal as one of the team’s building blocks.

  30. I’d rather we wait on Furcal, if only because the contracts for Shortshops we’ve seen this past December show that the SS market is a bit overheated. Maybe it could go even higher next year, but I’d rather run that risk than get stuck into another long-term contract that turns out to be overvalued.

    What is the deal on the SS Luis Hernandez whose on BA’s propsect list? What level is he in, and is he a possible replacement?

  31. There’s no frame of reference for what Schuerholz might do if the Braves are out of contention in midseason, so it’s hard to predict

    I agree that we have no true frame of reference, though there was word from a number of directions last June that JS was preliminarily shopping Ortiz and maybe also Andruw. When the Braves stormed back into contention that talk stopped. But I can’t imagine him keeping people he doesn’t think he could re-sign.

    furcal is indeed a player who’s hard to replace; but if 4/$40m is the price tag to keep him, I just don’t think we’ll do it (nor am I sure we should).

  32. I doubt Furcal will get the Renteria contract. I think the maximum Furcal will get is Cabrara’s contract of $8M per year. If we do a comparison among the three players, I see a better comparison between Furcal and Cabrera than Furcal with Renteria. With all his Furcal’s off-field problems, perhaps we can knock down the price a little-bit as well. I can see JS offering Furcal a long-term contract extension before the arbitration hearing.

  33. Furcal is better than Cabrera at all facets of the game, though. The Angels just made it really hard for us to keep Furcal by overpaying Cabrera. At the very least, I see Furcal getting 9 million a year, but probably not from us (assuming he has a solid year).

    Off the top of my head, I believe that Luis Hernandez is a extremely defensively talented shortstop who finished the season in high A Myrtle Beach. There are questions about his bat, but he had a pretty solid year (at least average-wise, not much power)last year in a strong pitcher’s park. I saw where Pena, Jr. is slated to play SS at AAA Richmond, so it looks like Hernandez shouldn’t have a problem with starting at AA Mississippi.

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