Atlanta 5, San Francisco 4 (12 innings) – MLB – Box Score – Giants at Braves

I guess the Braves really wanted Marcus to extend his hit streak. So much so that they blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth and let the game go twelve innings before he could end the game with a two-out RBI single.

This game never should have got further than 8 1/2. Smoltz was dealing, and the Braves had a 3-0 lead after six. Francoeur doubled home LaRoche in the fifth to break the ice. Andruw then hit a two-run homer, his 36th to equal his career high, in the sixth.

Smoltz had allowed just two hits through seven, but got into trouble in the eighth, allowing a line double that Johnson should have caught, then two straight singles to make it 3-1 with the tying runners on, but got out of it. Then Andruw beat his career high with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning.

Now, Bobby can be excused for letting Smoltz start the ninth. But he let him go too far. I probably would have had Reitsma start the inning; let him get back on the horse with the easiest of save chances. But Smoltz wasn’t even at 100 pitches to start the inning, so Bobby probably figured why not give him the shot at the complete game.

But when he gave up a single leading off, he should have been pulled. Sure, it was on an 0-2 pitch, and it was a lame seeing-eye single, but you don’t let your starting pitcher even risk getting into trouble in the ninth when the game is at all close. Michael Tucker then doubled, second and third, nobody out. And Bobby left Smoltz in, still! He got a groundout, runner scored, other runner to third. And then allowed another single to make the game 4-3, tying runner on, and Bobby finally yanked him. Reitsma allowed a another weak single (other than the double, the hits were all pathetic) to make it first and third, and the score was then tied up on a grounder to the hole behind first that Marcus got a force at second on. Eventually, Reitsma got out of it, but the situation was far more difficult than it should have been.

Kolb pitched the tenth, and sparkled, groundout, strikeout, flyout. Boyer pitched the eleventh and twelfth, allowing the leadoff man to reach both times but pitching around that. The Braves, meanwhile, weren’t doing much, their one runner in the eleventh being erased on a double play groundout.

Betemit led off the twelfth with a walk. Ramirez’s pinch-bunt failed, and Furcal flew out. But KJ walked, and Marcus singled past short. Betemit just beat the throw, game over. Boyer gets his first career victory.

The Braves had just eight hits, three by LaRoche, but walked seven times… The Marlins won, the Astros lead the Natspos by three late, the Mets have a big early lead, and the Phillies trail by one in the third… Tomorrow’s game will be on TBS, Tim Hudson versus Jason Schmidt.

80 thoughts on “Atlanta 5, San Francisco 4 (12 innings)”

  1. Marlins pulled a hidden ball trick at 3B. Did everyone see it? I’ve always wanted to see one of those! I didn’t know the play is dead as soon as the pitcher steps on the mound, but you learn something new every day.

    If we’d lost this game, it would have been Bobby’s fault. Leaving Smoltz out there so long was inexcusably bad managing. It was like Grady Little, except we managed to win in the end. And I maintain my stance that Francoeur’s failure to learn any patience at the plate hurt the team tonight with that GIDP and will probably continue to do so. I know that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but let’s call this preemptive worrying. On the positive side, KJ looks to be reacquiring his strike zone recognition. He’s swinging at more pitches and really working counts. Keep it up!

  2. It’s a “bolg” entry, Joey. I still love the I AM AT THE BOSTON PULBIC LIBARY AND I AM NOT WAREING ANY PANTS. OPPS I HAVE TO GO. That makes me cry with laughter no matter how many times I see it.

  3. Great win but I still hate Chris Reitsma. We re screwed if we dont find a real closer. This clown is a complete joke. Im done.

  4. Anybody see Francoeur beating the crap out of Marcus at the end of the game? I think we have a head-bashing war going on here. As long as they don’t get overzealous and give somebody a concussion…

  5. Addendum: Apparently you can remain on rehab assignments for 20 days. So they don’t have to activate Jordan until September 1 anyway. Our KJ problem is nonexistent.

  6. Are you guys crazy? Reitsma’s still a good pitcher. What did he give up? A single. Then the runner scored on a ground ball out. That’s Reitsma’s job. Get groundballs.

    The guy didn’t walk anybody. Didn’t give up a home run. He gave up a single, albeit poorly timed. If he starts the inning, the game is over, and everyone sings his praises.

    Reitsma’s the best choice for a closer on this team other than a guy who’s far more valuable in the rotation. He didn’t stink up the joint. He didn’t even make the mistakes he did in St. Louis. I’d rather have him close games than Kyle “hey, look, another homerun” Farnsworth.

    “This clown is a complete joke” is a ridiculous statement. He’s a fine pitcher, a good American. God Bless Reitsma.

  7. Reitsma’s still a good pitcher.

    Replacement level closer Joe Table: 3.67 ERA, 26 saves in 29 chances, 6.05 K/9IP

    Chris Reitsma: 3.62 ERA, 15 saves in 21 chances, 5.43 K/9IP

    Worse than Joe Table is not a good pitcher, and sure isn’t a good closer.

    That’s Reitsma’s job. Get groundballs.

    Actually his job is to get outs. His strikeout rate is low for a closer, which means stuff like tonight is going to happen more often than most. His penchent for giving up the back breaking multi-run homer also doesn’t help.

  8. Joey T are we watching the same pitcher?? Dont come crying to me when this clown blows the season for us again like he did last year when the playoffs come around. I guarantee you that not one team in the league fears Chris Reistma in the ninth. How many bombs has this clown given up this year?? The GS from Eckstein and Milton Bradley come to mind.

  9. Guys, Reitsma is a huge bargain considering he is making $1.65M. He is in the position being our closer because the actual clown who is making $3.4M failed to do his job.

    If we combine the salaries of the two, perhaps we can get a true closer who will make everybody happy. Until then, Reitsma is the best we have and what we have to live with for the rest of this season.

  10. “I put Reitsma in such a bad situation,” said Smoltz, who allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 8 1/3 innings.
    “It’s too bad Smoltzie couldn’t get the win,” Cox said. “He pitched so great tonight until the eighth inning. It’s just too bad because he was really on top of his game big time.”
    As he stood at his locker, it was apparent Smoltz was dejected. But at the same time, he’s spent most of his 18-year career determined to finish effort like this one. Thus given the chance again under the same situations, he says he’d do it again.”I’ll go home,” Smoltz said. “I’ll be mad and then I’ll wake up and go, ‘That’s just who I am.’ Us winning makes it easier for me to wake up the next morning and not be too disappointed.”

    —-from official site

    Rome was not built in a day.Smoltzie! Without you, Braves couldnít have survived.It was just a game.Win is a win.Actually, Iím looking forward to seeing you in the playoff .^.^ I have a friend I know.He aims at being perfect.He was deeply distressed by his exam results. Nobody is perfect.!
    He acted as if nothing had happened after a month.Time heals all wounds. NO! The Champion heals all wounds! haha.

  11. The last person Smoltz should be blaming is himself; it’s 100% Bobby’s fault for leaving him out there way too long. If anything, Smoltz deserves team co-MVP honors with Andruw for 2005–if we didn’t have Smoltz this year, we’d be in 3rd place right now.

    Regarding the Reitsma argument, he’s not an effective closer; and the next time someone points out what a BARGAIN he is, I am going to hurt someone. I don’t give a rat’s ass if a CLOSER IS A BARGAIN. I would rather spend triple on Billy Wagner or Rivera and know that everytime one of those guyd go out there, he gets the job done–kind of like we had with Smoltz the last few years!

    I don’t trust Reitsma at all as far as I could throw him and I have said over & over, we are screwed come playoff time, unless Bobby does the ONE THING (assuming we don’t get someone through waivers) that he won’t do but should do: MAKE JORGE SOSA THE CLOSER.

    Sosa is a flame throwing right hander who can strike people out…that’s what you need in a closer. And as we have all witnessed, Sosa, is rpetty unhittable for about the first 4 innings before tiring out. Gee, as closer you don’t have to worry about more then 2 innings at a time. Sosa had been fine in the pen beforehand so he could at least handle it come Playoff time.

    I realize right now he’s an effective starter and with the injuries, they don’t want to move him (and hey, I thought Thomson was supposed to be ready by now?) but come Playoff time, if both Hampton & Thomson are back in the rotation, we will have a 3 or 4 man rotation good enough for the post season (with Smoltz & Hudson of course as 1-2) and why not make Sosa the CLOSER?

    I Mean, Kyra Sedgewick can’t be the only ‘closer’ out there–right? Ha.

    As for Marcus & Francouer head butting eachother, I am sure it would make all the steroid users in Baseball proud to see two guys who are NATURALLY hyper!

  12. And by the way, if Kolb, LaRoche & Furcal (among others) aren’t back next year, we have NO excuse to not be able to pay a closer since I don’t see them adding any offense in the offseason…Chipper likely moves to 1st, Marte to 3rd, Betemit to SS with LaCRAP and Furcal gone (as well as Johnny Estrada, another person we don’t need with McCann unless Johnny takes a back-up role, then he’s fine with me–but he damn sure should be behind McCann, this goes without saying), we should have some new monies opened up to go out and get a freaking closer or finally look to make Sosa the closer.

    I am actually of the opinion for the first time in YEARS that the Braves can actually SAVE money this offseason and improve the team!!! I would like to keep Furcal as to what he brings but Betemit is a great hitter and should play; We can obviously save money by losing Kolb and for that matter, I imagine John Thomson won’t be back or they may trade Hampton since they wuill be ready to hand a starting pitcher’s job to Kyle Davies.

    Yes, the young Braves this year have done somethign miraculous…allowed the Time Warner execs to save money NEXT year!

  13. Alex, your level of knowledge and the time you’ve spent thinking through your statements are astoundingly low.

    1) Sosa a flame thrower? He hits about 93 on the gun with his fastball. Reitsma hits about 93, as well.

    2) Sosa keeps guys on base. Not what you want your closer to do. Sure, he’s had success getting out of jams this year, but like Francoeur and his lack of plate discipline, eventually the statistics are going to catch up with you.

    3) We have to start paying Mike Hampton’s ridiculous contract next year. Thus, money we save on Kolb/Furcal/etc. will likely be counteracted by the 13 million or so Mike will be owed. Thus, we still won’t be able to afford an expensive closer, at least not with the current budget restrictions.

    4) This isn’t necessarily to you alone, Alex, but I’m tired of people “hating” Reitsma, Kolb, LaRoche, or whomever the current goat is. If you’re a Braves fan, you’re supposed to support each member of the team. Not this selective, “I only cheer for the players who are doing well,” crap. What kind of fan bails on struggling players? These guys are Braves, too, and as fans, it’s time we stop booing them and start supporting them. It’s not like they want to make mistakes or be ineffective.

  14. Chuck James pitched 1st game for Richmond 4.2 innings 1 run, no decision, in Richmond loss. Salty hits 15th hr. Devine pitches 3 innings 3 runs no earned runs for Mississippi. Brandon Jones (On BA’s hot prospects),outfielder, promoted for 3rd time this year.
    Now at Myrtle Beach.

  15. From what I hear, Stu, the Braves have been budgeting in anticipation of Hampton’s contract explosion, so the actual change in money available will not be very great. JS is an extremely smart man and a good money manager, why would he backload everything and then let it balloon without some kind of plan?

    And who is saying “I only cheer for guys that are doing well?” No one is saying that. What you’re talking about is a temporary dislike of players who are hurting the team with blown saves, untimely GIDPs, slow running, etc. The MLB message boards have descended into a “True fans don’t say bad things!” and “I’m sick of holier-than-thou fans!” cat fights. We are all true fans, or we wouldn’t be on this site.

    Alex, your level of knowledge and the time you’ve spent thinking through your statements are astoundingly low.

    I suggest, Stu, that you flee for cover immediately.

  16. Interesting stat: Andruw has 5 career at-bats against Kevin Correia. He is 3 for 5 with 3 HRs. Jeez.

  17. I’ve heard about the budgeting, Jenny, but I can’t see the results of that. That is, our aggregate salary–budgeted at 80 million for each of the past two seasons–has exceeded 80 million both years, so I’m not sure what money JS has been able to use to save for Hampton. I may be wrong and if I am, I’d love to see the numbers, if you’ve got them.

    Also, I’m not trying to curb anyone’s right to free speech. I understand the frustrations that come with blown saves and double-plays grounded into. I’m just saying, these are the guys we have, so cheer them on and stop speaking so negatively about them. Besides, anyone who’s paid any attention to Kolb (of late) and Reitsma knows that the hits they’re surrendering are probably 90% seeing-eye grounders or broken-bat bloops (Eckstein’s GS not withstanding). That is, it just doesn’t show a lot of comprehension of the game of baseball to berate someone for pitching into some bad luck.

    And, finally, I’ve noticed on previous threads Alex’s inability to not take things personally. I welcome any response he may have to offer.

  18. “but I’m tired of people “hating” Reitsma, Kolb, LaRoche, or whomever the current goat is. If you’re a Braves fan, you’re supposed to support each member of the team. ”

    I think you have Braves’ fans confused with an actual player on the team. Venting is part of the requirements of being a true fan (There are certain limits on this depending on what regional area you associate with.) In general if you leave their family, religion, or ethnicity out of it you are within the bounds of being a good fanatic.

  19. I am not a columnist or sports writer.I think nobody’s fault,yesterday.JUST HAPPEN. I just wanna enjoy the game.Regular season,it’s a long journey.This isn’t a word of reproof.I know Here is a fan forum.

  20. Whatever you might think about our current relievers, let’s take a look at what our old pal Gryboski did last night in Boston. Keep in mind that the Rangers had scored four runs in the top of the eighth to pull within two runs, so there was still hope. However, between Karsay and Shouse the Sox score two more runs, making it 9-5 — unrealistic, but not out of the realm of possibility. Edgar Renteria’s on first, and Grybo comes in.

    –K Gryboski relieved B Shouse.
    –M Ramirez doubled to left, E Renteria to third.

    And this was a classic Gryboski double — down the line, crossing up the defense. Manny thought he pulled it foul at first.

    –J Varitek intentionally walked.
    –K Millar popped out to second.
    –T Graffanino doubled to deep right, E Renteria and M Ramirez scored, J Varitek to third.
    –B Mueller walked.
    –G Kapler hit by pitch, J Varitek scored, T Graffanino to third, B Mueller to second.
    –J Damon walked, T Graffanino scored, B Mueller to third, G Kapler to second.
    –E Renteria safe at first on error by center fielder G Matthews Jr, B Mueller, G Kapler and J Damon scored.

    Hard-hit ball into right-center. It looked like Matthews had it, but he misplayed it.

    C Wilson relieved K Gryboski.
    –D Ortiz grounded out to pitcher.

    His final line — 0.1 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, 6 runs (!), and he allowed the inherited runner to score. Jeff Brantley was up in the booth mumbling incoherently during the whole performance (which was worth the price of admission all by itself). I can’t believe we got the Rangers to take this guy.

  21. Alex R, you can kill me if you want to, but the fact is we can’t afford a Wagner or Rivera. We had a $10M closer, but another fact is we can’t afford one because of the budget.

    I am not saying Reitsma is great, I am just saying tonight’s blown save is not his fault. Smoltz and Bobby put Reitsma in a terrible position which should have never happened. If it was Reitsma who started the inning, we would not be having this conversation.

    Ok, I agree the fact that we may have a better closer in Sosa, Boyer, Devine or whoever, but Cox will never lift Reitsma from his closer role until he pitches like Wohlers in 97? or Kolb, which I don’t think will happen.

  22. Stu,

    I’ll answer because I keep a close eye on the Braves finances. I have paranoia about McGuirk and company using Hampton’s salary bump next year as an excuse, because I see it mentioned all the time in the papers. They have used their alleged budgeting plan for Hammy as a reason they have not spent more in the last three years.

    Most of the time when you see the Braves’ stated payroll it is way overstated. It includes all of Hampton’s salary and even includes full year salaries for players (like minor leaguers) that only play part of the year with Atlanta.

    According to Dugout Dollars, the Braves total payroll in 2004 was $84.43M. I like Dugout Dollars because it itemizes the components of the payroll (yet, it has never been updated to 2005). Anyway, the site lists $12M for Hampton as a component of that total. But, the Braves only paid $2M of his salary in 2004, only $1.5 in 2005. If you level out Hampton’s contract to $8M each year, as the Braves say they will do, the 2004 total payroll comes to $80.43M.

    I do not have 2005 at my fingertips, but the results are similar. By my sources opening day payroll actually went down from ’04 to ’05. Additionally, in 2005, most sites that list players salaries and team payroll count John Smoltz’s signing bonus 100% in 2005. Such accounting would amount to a drop in salary for Smoltz of several million in 2006.

  23. Oh yeah, Alex R, I agree with you on the fact that the Braves can improve themselves while saving money as well. We should have enough money and talent to trade for a good closer.

  24. If I read one more comment about Francoeur’s lack of plate discipline, I’m gonna cack. Jesus H, they’re throwing him enough strikes for him to be batting .419, etc., etc. What do you want him to do, watch fat pitches into the catcher’s mitt? All the Beane-Wannabe Roto-dweebs who’ve fetishized walks need to check out reality sometime. Maybe when they quit throwing Francoeur so many strikes, he’ll collect some bases on ball. Key-riste!!! Pathetic.

  25. I really don’t think, even if we have the money, it will be spent on a closer, with the possible exception of resigning Farnsworth in that role. After all, we drafted Joey Devine for a reason.

    I think if we have money to spend, it should be spent trying to resign Furcal. I know he’ll be overpriced, but we simply don’t have another leadoff hitter. Plus, his defense is hard to match.

    Or, we could just have an even smaller payroll next year and save up for the future, so that we’re able to lock up Davies, Francoeur, McCann et al for the longterm.

  26. The other day, I bought a lottery ticket at 7-11. I didn’t win. I’m never shopping there again. That clerk screwed me. He’s not night manager material.

  27. “We should have enough money and talent to trade for a good closer.”

    You mean like we did last year?

    There are better things to spend your money on than closers. If you took Jason Isringhausen off the Cardinals and replaced him with some random, how much worse off would they really be?

  28. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Farnsworth as the closer next year, but I doubt Mazzone and Cox will trust him with that role this year. As pointed out above, Sosa is electric, but he’s sloppy and puts runners on – very bad tendency for a closer. For better or worse, Reitsma is the closer this year.

    Cox put him in a bad spot last night, leaving Smoltz in two batters too long. However, I agree an ace closer has to be able to get out of that spot, and I agree that Reitsma is no such thing. The problem is that Cox needs to realize that, and manipulate the situation better so he can put his closer in with a chance to succeed. Supposedly, they were trying to get Smoltz to push his start back a bit to rest his arm more, if that were the case, then why the heck even send him back out there for the 9th? He got into a jam in the 8th, although he pitched out of it masterfully. That had to take something out of him and his velocity was definitely down. But, water under the bridge at this point.

    Anyway, it was nice to see Giles extend his streak. Some very nice plays in the field on both sides, some questionable umpiring (especially on KJ in the 5th with the bases loaded), and a bad scoring decision (KJ deserved an error for that “double” in the 8th). Gutsy decision by Giles to try for the lead runner on the slow grounder in the 9th. There was no chance of a DP or of getting the tying run at home, and by just nipping the runner at 2nd, he gave Reitsma a chance to pitch to the next guy without a man in scoring position.

    Andruw’s at-bat against LaTroy was cool – you could see Andruw adjusting throughout the at-bat to slowly catch up to the fastball. Way behind the first two, fouled the next two straight back, and then I thought to myself, if they are dumb enough to keep throwing fastballs near the zone, Andruw is going to kill one, he just about has it timed now. Sure enough, after a ball high, POW, a new career high!

  29. I think there is a good possibility we will be w/o many or some of these players next year:
    Furcal, Laroche, Kolb, Ramirez, Thomson, Estrada

    There has got to be some money savings there. Most of these guys can easily be replaced with young guys or a cheap vet, except for furcal. He is the one guy on this list that I think is the hardest to replace.

    On a side not, I really hope Atl finds a place for Chuck James next year. His numbers are unreal.

  30. Reitsma is not bad. It could be worse, remember our friend Kolb?

    Other fun news: The Nats are tied for third and the Mets are only a game behind them. The Phillies are in second now, but it just came over the wire “Thome out for the season.” (

    If there is a goat from last nights game I think it has to be Kelly Johnson. If he can get a hit with the bases loaded we would have had 7 runs.

  31. AJC says “The Braves are 13-3 at Turner Field since July 2” they also note we have the best home record in baseball.

  32. Never mind, I’m just being slow today. Missed where it showed the preview until I hit the post button.

  33. Thanks, Mac, I figured it out. Unfortunately, the target tag for opening a new window for the link doesn’t seem to work, but since I prefer to open a new tab instead of a new window, that’s okay.

  34. 06 Possible starters Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Ramirez, Thompson, Sosa, Davies, Lerew, James.
    Sosa could relieve but that leaves 3 other starters with nowhere to go.

  35. So, 200+ million buys you a 25% chance of a postseason berth. BEAUTIFUL! It’s a great day to ba a Yankee Hater!!!

  36. So 200+ million buys you a 25% chance to make the playoffs. BEAUTIFUL!!! It’s a good day to be a Yankee Hater!!!

  37. I think that the Braves will pick up Thomson’s option (it’s really cheap by today’s prices) then ship him somewhere.

    Of course, my dream is to dump Hampton on the Yankees.

  38. I agree abotu thomson. His trade value would be very good. I really think we’ll trade him and HoHum in favor of Davies and James being our 4 & 5. I think Sosa is in the bullpen and Lerew is still in AAA purgatory.

  39. Whoever thinks that it’s absolutely normal to blast members of their team while they’re in a slump is absolutely nuts. You can call it “venting” or being a fanatic or whatever garbage you want to call it, but the fact of the matter is when those players finally get on track then you shut up. When Johnson started 1-29, the same people that were crying up a storm that he was “killing the team” crawled back in their holes when he got on track.

    This whole business about McCann being the starting catcher is even worse. Since when does a rookie catcher with an .289 BA in 83 ABs make him better than a catcher with much better track record and a .314 BA in 462 ABs last year. Estrada’s injured and he’s slumping and you guys want to jettison him in favor of a rookie catcher with a hand-ful of good ABs.

    Same goes for LaRoche. He makes the league minimum and you’re expecting him to be Jimmie Foxx. If you want a Carlos Delgado-type player, then you gotta pay the $13M-per that he gets.

    I think the people that want to discard veterans with good seasons already under their belts for rookies that have had a good couple of weeks need to show some temperance. Thank God John Schuerholtz has it or we would have traded Furcal for Jacque Jones and had Marte and his .159 BA so far at 3B when Chipper went down.

  40. Estrada hit .314 last year, sure. But that was well above his previous career standard, and I’m certain he’s not really a .314 hitter. Also, McCann’s OBP this year is close to Estrada’s last year, because Estrada didn’t and doesn’t walk. The power numbers are similar so far, but nobody expects Estrada to hit many homers, while McCann should.

    But that’s irrelevant. The point is that McCann is the starting catcher now. Estrada is hurt, he can’t swing the bat, and it’s questionable if he’s going to get healthy at all this year. I’d suggest he get in the whirlpool, but… Anyway, if McCann continues to start and gives them decent offense, the Braves are going to shop Estrada in the offseason.

    As for LaRoche, that is less about LaRoche than it is about Chipper, and Marte will hit in the majors.

  41. So if it is less about LaRoche than it is about Chipper, how do we know Chipper will even succeed at 1B? LaRoche plays great defensive, how do we know Chipper will even be passable?

    I love Chipper, but how can you even be assured he’ll stay healthy? He couldn’t stay healthy at SS, couldn’t stay healthy at 3B, couldn’t stay healthy in LF, why should 1B be any different? If/when he goes down at 1B, who’s there to replace him? Jurries? Franco full-time? I dunno…

  42. I like your thinking Rob. We keep LaRoche for his D and a lefty bat off the bench. But then what of Julio? Julio can pick it at first too and he is a better hitter. I like both LaRoche and Julio, but I gotta go with Julio.

  43. So you’re going to leave LaRoche around as a backup? I don’t think that’s the best use of resources, and he’d probably bitch about it. (That being said, I think he’d be more valuable as a pinch-hitter/defensive replacement/12th pitcher than as a regular.) Julio’s the backup at first. Jurries or Scott Thormann could come up if a full-timer is needed for a couple weeks. And it’s a lot easier to find a replacement first baseman than a replacement third baseman.

  44. Thomson is DIRT CHEAP for the numbers he puts up. Of course the Braves will pick up his option. I don’t see why, after picking up said option, they would choose to trade him. I still think other GMs are going to look at his pre-Braves numbers, think “Mazzone magic”, and not give equal value for him. I’m not even sure what equal value would be in his case.

    My dream is not to “dump Hampton” on the Yanks. That would dramatically improve the Yankees staff. He is expensive, probably too expensive for the Braves the next few years, but he’s actually worth the money he makes. Who would the Yanks give up for Hampton? If we got rid of Hampton, who would be a lefty in the rotation? Ramirez? Chuck James?

    Shopping Estrada is a good move if only because McCann has shown the ability to be productive at the major league level, and the system is loaded with good catching prospects.

    And I still don’t get all the Reitsma hate. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, watch him pitch. Other than that one ball to Eckstein, when’s the last time you’ve seen him throw a bad pitch in the last month and a half?

  45. Ok, so if Chipper stays healthy, LaRoche’s defense definately will out-weigh Chipper’s. Will Chipper’s offense outweigh LaRoche’s defensive superiority over Chipper?

    And about Betemit: why are we convinced that he’s everyday SS material? He all but blew his status as a prospect and at 25, why all of a sudden is he major league material? Don’t get me wrong, I love watching him play now, but there’s a reason he was moved from SS to 3B. It had to be his defense. Why all of a sudden is he worthy?

  46. Not to mention that the practical limit for keeping LaRoche around as a backup is one year; after that, he goes to arbitration and his superficially impressive counting stats will win him a big raise.

  47. Joey has a good point. What could the Yankees give us for Hampton? I disagree that he’s worth the money though. He’s good, but is he really worth his contract? The reason he got that contract was because Colorado really overpaid for him. If he had gotten a similar offer from anywhere else, he would have taken that. Who wants to pitch in Colorado besides Scott Francis and Brian Fuentes?

    I will never see why there everyone hates Reitsma. He may not be a prototypical “proven” closer, but he has been more than acceptable considering he wasn’t brought in to be a closer. If Kolb could have done his job, we would be raving that Reitsma is a great set-up man.

  48. Unless Chipper is Dick Stuart-bad, which I don’t think he will be, he can’t possibly give up enough runs with his glove to make up for the difference in bats. But that’s irrelevant in any case. The simple fact is that the Braves are going to be paying Chipper a lot of money, they don’t have any choice in the matter, and that the best place for him is first base.

    The formula is:

    [Marte(D) + Marte(O) + Chipper(D/1st) + Chipper(H/1st) + Chipper(O)] > [LaRoche(D) + LaRoche(O) + Chipper(D/3rd) + Chipper(H/3rd) + Chipper(O)]

    Where (D) is defense, (H) is health, and (O) is offense. LaRoche is in competition with Marte, not Chipper, and would have to out-hit Marte, significantly, to make it worth keeping Chipper at third. I do not think that is likely, looking at their respective minor league careers. Even then, it’s questionable that Chipper’s shoulder will ever be what it once was, meaning he might have to move to first by default.

  49. 1. Chipper to 1b may happen even sooner than next season if he can’t throw. BTW, BPro has LaRoche’s 2004 defensive rating at -6, with 0 as average, so anecdotal perception may mask reality. (Or even sophisticated defensive stats may be misleading.) Anyway, to think that, all things considered, LaRoche is a better option than Chipper at 1b strikes me as ludicrous.

    2. Reitsma is hardly a prototypical closer (with his low K rate) but he’s clearly the best option on the team now. And given a rational distribution of resources, he likely will be the best option next year – upgrading closer is not a priority.

    3. Because SS is – assuming Furcal is gone. The 2006 Braves *must* find another option besides Betemit – counting on him to play fulltime appears iffy. So I suspect that the budget surplus, if it exists, will either be used to re-sign Furcal, to pay another quality SS, or to replace whatever pitching we deal for a cheap SS (like Maicer Izturis).

  50. We may not be in agreement of who will start at 1B in 06, but can we at least agree that Julio will play back up until he’s in his mid-fifties?

    I think the 1B/3B debate will solve itself once we get more answers pertaining to Chipper’s health. The only place we may be able to stick Chipper may be 1B if he can’t stay healthy.

    I think the real debate needs to be who will play SS and please don’t tell me that we can open up next season with all our chips on Betemit.

  51. If Chipper can still throw, how is Chipper at 1B, Marte at 3B, Betemit at SS and Johnson in LF any better offensively or defensively than Chipper at 3B, Marte in LF, Johnson at SS, and LaRoche at 1B? The latter seems better because you can keep Betemit in probably his rightful position, utility, and have a good glove man in LaRoche at 1B and Franco as a back-up.

  52. Most of this is based on the assumption that Marte will never play the OF and Johnson will never play SS. If both those things become not true somehow, it certainly changes things.

  53. Which is awfully confusing to me… Betty can’t play short because the organization moved him, but KJ can play short even though the organization moved him? Or is it just Betty’s bat that worries you?

  54. I like the thinking with Maicer Izturis, but what about someone like Chone Figgins. We need an insurance policy for Betemit if Furcal is gone. Figgins is a guy who can play SS, 2B, 3B, and all 3 outfield positions. If Betemit were to prove himself at SS, then you could still use Figgins to fill a hole elsewhere. Besides, the dude’s name is ‘Chone’ What is that all about?

  55. If KJ could play SS, they wouldn’t have moved him to the OF in the minors. Oh, and on Hampton- my dream is not dumping him on the Yankees, but the other NY team – for Glavine, assuming the Mets take Hampton’s entire salary. That would give the team far more financial flexibility in 2007, and I’d rather see even today’s Glavine starting a playoff game than HoRam or Hampton.

  56. I love Chone, but it would take someone like Marte or Francoeur for the Angels to trade him. Not gonna happen.

  57. Johnson is probably a worse shortstop than Betemit, which is why he was moved to the outfield while Betemit only went to third base. Moreover, Marte is certainly not as good of an outfielder as Johnson, and certainly a better third baseman than Chipper. So you’re weakening three positions defensively to boost one? The one where most teams are most likely to sacrifice defense?

    Moreover, Marte is likely to be a better hitter than LaRoche as soon as next year, and almost certainly (like a 95 percent chance) will be better within three years. But Betemit is a better hitter now. LaRoche is hitting .262/.313/.464, Betemit .296/.353/.453.

  58. Repeat after me…

    LaRoche is a good player, of or at least very near everyday caliber on most any team. But he is NOT the kind of guy you juggle your entire team around. Larry and his enormous contract are. Marte and his enormous potential are.

    It just seems that simple to me. YMMV.

  59. creynolds just summed it up. Even if you like LaRoche, he is the odd man out if he is not willing to be a backup.

  60. Speaking of Betty at shortstop, does anybody know what the hangup on him defensively really was? I had always thought it was a combination of him being erratic (rushed throws and the like) and an attempt to take some pressure off of him and maybe recover his offensive potential. He certainly seemed erratic to me in the few spring games I was able to watch, and it would have made some sense to try just about anything to jumpstart his hitting.

    If that is true, then I think his play at third should be setting some of those worries aside. From what I have seen (even though I don’t trust my eyes all that much) his range at third has been excellent, his glove has been pretty steady and his throws haven’t been rushed or way off target. If his defense was more about his composure, it seems safe to say that’s gotten a lot better. I know he probably doesn’t have to range much to his left thanks to Furcal, and that shortstop is a difference position (longer throws, more emphasis on footowrk, etc.), but it’s encouraging.

  61. Well at least they have prospects at cather to trade, and trade one or two of them they will. With Pena, McCann and Salt-guy coming up, somethings gotta give. The Braves will have Sept. to see if Estrada is going to recover from the beating Erstad gave him, otherwise, they’ll probably just let him go.

    The fact that there is such a strong debate going on here over which players will come up from the minors and take current jobs is a testament to the Braves’ farm system. The Yankees, Red Sox and other teams would kill to have 25% of the talent the Braves farm system has.

    On the closer issue, the Braves can’t do anything about it because there isn’t anyone out there they can get (The Phillies would not trade Wagner to the Braves, plus he’s had injuries for two years in a row now, so why would they want him anyway). Reitsam and Kolb aren’t the best out there, but they are no worse than some of the other teams have.

    Looper NYM – 23 of 27, 17BB, 23SO
    Isringhausen – 31 of 34, 21BB 31SO
    Codero, TX – 26 of 32, 22BB 59SO
    Mesa – 26 of 29 18BB 29SO
    Baez (who some here wanted) 23 of 30, 21BB 39SO
    Brazoban, LAD – 21 of 25, 20BB 36SO

  62. First off just because you are a fan of a team DOES NOT mean you have to like all the players. I hate Chris Reitsma. Have you all forgotten his pathetic performance in Game 5 last year against the Astros?? How he single handedly came into the game and blew it wide open. He is weak minded and lacks the confidence you need in a closer. He is feared by no one and if you think this clown is going to shut down playoff teams in the ninth then you are all crazy. If you guys have the hopes that I do, that the Braves will go and win the World Series, then you cant realistically expect to see Reistma out on the mound.

  63. I don’t know. He’s not the kind of guy you get excited about, but I’m not ready to panic yet. Besides, for all we know, Dan Kolb could be the closer come October :)

  64. I d like to see Jorge Sosa get a shot at closing after out starting five are back and healthy. If not I wouldnt mind seeing Boyer or Farnsworth have a crack at closing for the Braves. I dont want to even see Reitsma as the set up man. Reistma should be pitching in blowouts or when all other relievers have been used…he can come in right before Kolb.

  65. You’re a hard man to please. I know the stuff from late last year has left a bitter taste, and I can understand not thinking much of him as a closer, but to relegate him to mop-up duty is pretty extreme. But I guess some things never die… a couple of bad months last year and a couple of rough recent outings, and the guy can never come home again.

  66. I agree I am a hard man to please. I love this team so much and I get so emotional watching them. You invest so much of your heart and soul watching them almost everyday year after year just to get your heart broken in the playoffs. It was the bullpen last year and it seems so far that its going to be a problem as the year progresses. Yeah the Braves will win the division no problem but what happens in the playoffs. Are you guys really so confident in seeing Reitsma up there against the Cardinals in the ninth with the season on the line?? Lets work with some guys and try to fix this problem now while we still have some games left in the regular season.

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