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What interests me is the public suggestion that when/if Chipper comes back Betemit might take over at shortstop. We’ve talked about it a lot here but I don’t recall seeing it come up in news stories often. Anyway, 13 pitchers for now, and God help us if someone gets hurt. Bobby has got to play it safe with the bench from now on.

21 thoughts on “Notebook”

  1. “Bobby has got to play it safe with the bench from now on.”

    Yeah, he might have to give up on his pinch-running fetish until we start getting some guys back.

    What’s the over/under on the number of times we see Smoltz pinch-hit in the next month or so?

  2. Would Hampton be healthy enough right now to at least pinch hit? Just a thought.

    Mac, wemay have not spoken much on the phone the last few days but we are definitely thinking alike.

    I have also thought about what happens when Chipper returns fully healthy. I don’t know when that even is, but it should happen maybe within a month.

    I thinmk the guy we all want to see benched or traded now CLEARLY is Furcal.

    Forget about leadoff speed and all of that hooey. I just want 8 goodd to great hitters every now. If we stop running, we stop running. It’s not like Furcal is even stealing first base anyway because he’s hitting .220.

    I would love to trade Rafy for some relief help, maybe an extra bench hitter or even a big power hitting first baseman and we toss in LaRoche. When Chipper comes back, Betemit should be playing shortstop and I am greatly concerned that Bobby will bench our best hitter, Wilson Betemit. He absolutely cannot be benched.

    As for the lack of bench, I don’t think it’s a big deal for the next month or so if Bobby stops with his pinch running. It’s really unneccessary for now and the most necessary thing is we get 6 super competent relievers (once we have healthier starters) and have a deeper bench.

    I can live with 7 relievers even but we have to make sure at least the 2 guys killing us eventually go: Kolbb & Bernero. Put Sosa back in the bullpen when Hudson returns if Colon keeps pitching like this, he should stay a starter w/ Jorge Sosa back as a late inning reliever.

  3. Sosa has been pitching better than Davies; it would be wiser to send the latter down when they get a starter back. Of course, if Horacio can’t go then we’re right back in the soup. Maybe Kolb will pitch well as a starter.

  4. It sure sounds as if Furcal will be traded at some point. mentioned it in the article about Marte being sent down. I would prefer to get a long reliever and maybe a middle relief lefty for him. With the injuries, that seems to be a logical choice. They have enough offense and bench help, albeit a little inexperienced.

    About the game, the Braves’ turning point last year was against the Orioles. I believe this will be it for this year. I like their chances. There is no other team in baseball who has gone through what the Braves are going through and managed to stay within striking distance.

    Andruw is playing great, but let’s hope Chipper comes back immediately after the All-Star break because the All-Star break could be what stops Andruw unless teams decide to start walking him a lot more.

  5. It’s a bad sign that Bobby used a pinch runner the first chance he got today. I worry that that won’t go away. He’s going to have to get those pitchers running if he wants to stick with that plan. Too bad that Kolb is a toad or else he could actually have some use other than mopping up from time to time. Sosa should keep his legs stretched out.

    I think (hope) that if Vasquez can pitch well over the next several days they’ll DFA Bernero when Hudson comes back. I was cautiously optimistic about Bernero earlier in the year, but he’s clearly reverted to form. He’s probably worse than Kolb. At least Kolb has had some success, although I have no reason to hope he’ll see it again. But, hey, it could happen (riiiiiiight).

  6. Can we not trot Betemit into the outfield? We could always sub him late in the game with Langerhans and then we could cut Jordan. I think JS is about to make a move with kolb. I don’t see him being on the team in the second half.

  7. Langerhans has been a far superior hitter to Furcal. Benching him to play Betemit at a position he’s played little, with Johnson forced to stretch in right field, where he hasn’t played much either, doesn’t seem a very good idea.

  8. I see two holes on the team that should be filled when Chipper returns. 1) Bullpen help; I am not even going to go into depth about that. 2) a corner outfielder (rightfield) corner guys are a dime a dozen and can be had cheaper than corner infielders. We could move Langerhans and maybe Colon to a team like the Pirates, D-Rays, or the Royals (a small market team always looking to get younger) and see what we can do. This looks like the cheapest way for the Braves to go. We are one hitter and one to two good pen guys from a run through October.

  9. Ryan Langerhans, June:

    AVG .308
    OBP .387
    SLG .431
    OPS .817

    It’s not All-Star caliber, but it’s not bad. I see no reason to make a move there, except to get him a real platoon partner and not a decrepit ex-safety. The offensive problems are first base and shortstop, not the outfield corners.

  10. I’m not totally sold on Langerhans for the long haul yet (although he has had a better June than I realized), but I wouldn’t rush to deal him unless there was clear improvement. None of those teams really have anybody to give as a replacement. Huff still might be nice, but he’s had an awful year and is injured now. I could only see interest in Craig Wilson from the Pirates, but he’s also injured. The only decent Royals OF is Stairs, and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy Atlanta would want. All of these guys are questionable in the OF, at best anyway. You might get a decent reliever from the Pirates that way (the other two teams have none), but it just leaves a whole in the outfield that you can’t plug internally. It would be interesting to see Betemit in the outfield, I guess. But it’s not a given that a guy can just run out there and play. Pete Orr has proven that pretty well with his adventures out there. And you still have Furcal at short. He’s playing great defense, but on balance I have to think Betemit would be much more of an improvement there than in the outfield (assuming he can even play there).

  11. Matt Lawton is okay, but he’s old and is paid a lot ($7,750,000 this season) which means the Braves wouldn’t be able to take him. That he’s better than Langerhans is not readily apparent. Langerhans’ June is basically what we would have expected from his minor league numbers.

  12. I did forget about Lawton… someone I was actually kinda hoping Atlanta could get their hands on before the year. But that salary is crazy, and I agree that he’s not a clear upgrade over Langerhans all things considered.

  13. Something that I guess has been missed (at least by me). Somehow, with the injuries and the major FA loss, we’ve put together another freaking solid offense. Seriously. LaRoche and Furcal have been our worst hitters (please, let’s not count BJ). I have no idea…

    If we had the starting staff and bullpen we were supposed to…

  14. I go back to a few teams mentioned earlier: the A’s & Twins.

    It’s become pretty open about Mark Kotsay being on the market and while I doubt Beane wouild have any interest in Furcal, he’d have interest in prospects.

    The Twins on the other hand WOULD have interest in Furcal and Jacques Jones would be a nice fit.

    Also, we forgot about Shannon Stewart and the Boue Jays will definitely be SELLERS. Plus, SS is an issue with them.

    How about this:

    Shannon Stewart
    Shea Hillenbrand
    Jason Fraser (RP)
    Justin Speier (RP)


    Rafael Furcal
    Adam LaRoche
    Dan Kolb
    2 prospects

    The key the deal for Toronto is getting some Braves prospects and Furcal which will settle their infield and add some veteran influence.

    They are also looking to deal players like Stewart & Hillenbrand and getting some younger players in there. They may move Hinske another time and give 1B to LaRoche. Who knows? Plus, we get some relievers awho are doing pretty good and neither are kids so it’s not like the Jays are dealing prospects.

    I thimk Hillenbrand can play 1st (or Chipper at 1st) either way, with Betemit moving to short. Stewarts takes over a corner outfield spot, Langerhans become the 4th outfielder and Brian Jordan is releseaed.

    Plus, no more Kolbb and with the arrival of 2 jays relievers, it also frees us to dump Bernero.

  15. Stop with the throw Laroche in too.. It is his second year, he makes $333k, plays stellar defense, seems to always drive in the runner on second. 42 RBI. This guy is sot going awywhere.

    The low production from first base? 57 RBI combined. Hush.

    Furcal will get dealt when Chipper returns. Contract year, he sucks, and there are about 4 other SS in our system.

    I also think Hampton is done. JS will get us a SP.

  16. Okay, I got two names for the outfield if you feel we must have someone. Brady Clark from the Brewers or Moises Alou. Brady comes cheap and we might be able to get a middle reliever and give them back Kolb along with Furcal.

    I know Moises is both old and expensive, but he is still getting it done and would give the Braves a much needed pop in their lineup. Just don’t let Steve Bartman from Chicago come to the playoffs and Alou will be fine. San Fran is gonna be dumping and needs prspects badly.

  17. Alex, Shannon Stewart hasn’t been on the Blue Jays for two years. He’s with the Twins now.

    Kotsay makes $6,500,000 this year, which I not I believe the last of his contract, and if he isn’t in center field is not a good player. Actually this year he isn’t even good for center: .273/.330/.391.

    Stewart’s numbers are better than Kotsay’s but not as good as Langerhans has been since he started playing most of the time: .287/.337/.433. And he makes $6,000,000 and I believe is signed for at least another season.

    Hillenbrand is not very good, better than LaRoche has been, but then LaRoche is a second half player and Hillenbrand a first half player — actually, an April player. And he makes $3,870,000. Why trade for a guy who is — at most — a marginal improvement, and who makes ten times as much?

  18. Shannon Stewart plays for the Twins now, and I can’t see how he would be available. It sounds like the only guy they’re looking to deal from their ML roster is Lohse (or however you spell it). I’d do the Furcal for Lohse switch Mac was talking about a few days if there wasn’t any more involved.

    I may have sounded a little more down on Langerhans earlier than I really am. I wouldn’t be in all that big of a hurry to deal for offense, unless there was a decent replacement for Jordan available on the cheap. I still think it’s pitching help that’s most important, and if you could pry someone like Frasor or Speir from Toronto (and maybe even Lilly) I’d be on board for sure.

    I wouldn’t be very confident in Hillenbrand being better than LaRoche. He’s had a good year so far, but I can’t trust the guy.

  19. Ok, fuck up on my part about Stewart. It’s the American League and I guess I don’t care enough to know where the guy plays. Sorry.

    I don’t like or respect LaRoche. He’s a temporary player to me (like Langerhans), until we get a real 1st baseman. I mean, LaRoche & Langerhans are both decent offensively and strong defensively but they are the kind of guys who ride the bench on really good teams.

  20. So why bring in a player of a similar quality who just makes more money? It doesn’t make sense. You have to fill in the roster with players like LaRoche and Langerhans, unless you’re the Yankees, and it’s better if those players don’t make much money which leaves more to pay the core players.

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