Where Do We Go From Here? 2005: Part 5, Starting Pitching

First off, I feel pretty confident that John Smoltz will be the Braves’ opening day starter. The injury (reports of which may be exaggerated) is not to a tendon but to muscle, and should be long healed by spring. He’s not going to go back into the bullpen, either. It would be preferable if John wasn’t asked to pitch so much early next season, but circumstances forced it. Tim Hudson will be the #2 starter. That’s what he was last year, a #2, and people were expecting an ace and didn’t get one. He will probably miss time with muscle strains again, since he has three years in a row. If he really did find his split-finger pitch again late in the year, he could be better.

Behind that… Well, it’s interesting. Jorge Sosa was a clear #3 at the end of the year, but still has a lot of doubters. His ERA is a lot better than his peripherals, to be sure. Some of that is simply that he bore down with runners on base. Late in the year (unfortunately, not in the playoffs) he cut way down on his home runs allowed. I’m cautiously optimistic, and he should be in the rotation to start the season. On the other hand, the Braves might think that he’s at the peak of his value and shop him. Who knows?

Horacio Ramirez isn’t the same pitcher he was before his mysterious, and still not explained to my satisfaction, injury. His peripherals never were as good as his ERAs — and he didn’t have a strikeout pitch like Sosa to explain part of that — but he would still have been a valuable contributor. Last year, he became a home run machine, and he allows too many baserunners to get away with that. I’m convinced that his value will only go lower and that the Braves should deal him before it’s too late. He’s going to get a pretty good arbitration award, as will Sosa.

The Braves have an option on John Thomson, and they should pick it up. Now, that might only be to trade him. Middle-of-the-rotation pitchers with one year left on their contracts for $4.5 million don’t grow on trees, and if the Braves were willing to trade a veteran for prospects (something they have rarely done) he’d bring a good return. If he’s in the rotation, expect good pitching interrupted by a bizarre injury.

With Hudson and Thomson likely to miss time, you need a sixth starter available. That will probably be Kyle Davies. Kyle needs another year of polish and should at least start the season at AAA, unless someone gets hurt or traded. Long-term, Davies projects as a starter. I don’t know about Anthony Lerew and Chuck James. Lerew might be a closer candidate eventually. There’s a lot of doubt if James’ style of pitching will succeed in a major league rotation, but if not he should have a long career as a reliever.

Hey, it would be nice if the Braves traded for another elite starter, but I don’t see it happening. There’s too much of a problem on the other side of the bullpen wall.

56 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2005: Part 5, Starting Pitching”

  1. Good analysis. Therrev are too many questions withing the subject to have an intelligent discussion. The only one who could are JS, Bobby and Leo. I think Smoltz, Hudson and Sosa are sure things to one degree or another. I hope I’m not attacked but it’s just my gut feeling that Chuck James will emerge as an ace type pitcher because he’s never been any less on the way up at each level and that is added to Leo’s assessment of how good he already is. Davies has an edge for being #5 while Thomson and HoRam are trade poieces, the latter should be a certainty as his value is still high because he’s a lefty, while the former’s status may depend on what happens with the Furcal situation. One of my readers sent me an e-mail with an interesting prospective deal:

    Carl Crawford, Danys Baez, and Scott Kazmir to the Braves for Thomson, HoRam, Kelly J., Reitsma and LaRoche. (His deal is based on Marte becoming the 3Bmen and Chipper moving over to 1B).

  2. I’d like to know what money Jorge Sosa might get in arbitration. IMHO, his best pitching is ahead of him. I’d even like to see the Braves lock him in for a few years.
    Am I looking with my heart instead of my head?

  3. I don’t know how much cash the Braves have to spend overall, but assuming they sign Furcal, and expecting some Hapton insurance money, they should have a little left to go to the FA market or to acquire someone in trade. Most likely they keep Thomson for cheap, with the anticipation of replacing him with a healthy Hampton in 2007.

    Good overview. I fear they will overspend on a closer, though, either in trade or in cash. I hop eit’s just the latter, but I’m worried that his weak ML showing might make Marte available.

  4. I don’t know. Sosa already made $650K last year, so there’s your baseline. For going 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA, you’d expect a pretty hefty raise. Hard to find a comp. I figure at least $2 million. It would be an interesting arbitration case but most are settled.

  5. Although there’s no way the mentioned trade would ever take place, it’s a bit presumptuous to say the Rays won’t trade Kazmir. Who knows who they get as their new GM? If someone like Steve Phillips nabs the job, anything could happen.

    When have the Braves cared at all about a brief stint in the bigs to judge a player’s performance? Marte’s even more valuable than last year. Another good year at AAA does nothing but help a player’s stock.

  6. Dreaming up trade scenarios is a lot of fun, but one rule I try to observe while putting them together is this: No other team will take your mediocre catsoffs and duplicate talent in exchange for their best young players, no matter how many average players you attempt to include.

    Michael’s reader’s trade proposal above is a perfect example — the two players most likely, by far, to have long and productive careers among those included are Crawford and Kazmir. They are organizational jewels, and there’s just no way the Devil Rays will ditch them for a wheelbarrow of decent but nondescript ballplayers, regardless of positional need. What would our reaction be to an offer of Casey Fossum, Alex Gonzalez, Travis Lee, Trever Miller, and Josh Phelps for Francoeur, Marte, and Davies? Click.

  7. The Rays won’t trade Kazmir, at least to a team like the Braves, because they will KNOW in advance, they’ve been outsmarted.

    That said, a prediction: Ed Wade maybe the new Gm of the Rays if he suddently doesn’t become a yankee/Red Sox candidate since the Red Sox have lost their minds and decided to screw around with Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman, another smart young guy, is tired of being Steinbrenner’s whipping boy. I suspect one of them might take the Phils job?

    Back to the starting rotation.

    If Mac feels comfortable with Smoltz’s health, then so do I. As loing as he’s fine, 18 wins and a 2 and 1/2 ERA.

    JoeyT, myself and many, many other Braves fans expected a LOT BETTER then a 3 and 1/2 ERA from Hudson this year as the #2 starter. This guy was supposedly a Cy Young candidate and if the Braves are going to be legit, Hudson needs to step up and have a 2’s ERA.

    The third starter should be someone who’s not currently on the Braves roster. This is where those various Pirates/White Sox/Twins/Padres trade scenarios come in. I think it’s imperative that the Braves get another starter since I am completely not sold on Jorge Sosa.

    I have John Thomson penciled in as the 4th starter. The bottom line is that when he’s healthy, he’s very effective. He lasts at least one more year in our rotation.

    With regards to Jorge Sosa, Mac’s idea of trading him while his value is high is IMPERATIVE. If he comes back as a 3rd or 4th starter, it’s chancy but do-able. But I am open to seeing the Braves make at least 2 multi player deals this winter and for sure one should involve Horacio Ramirez. The other maybe involves Sosa.

    If both of those guys go and we get a Javy Vazquez, Oliver Perez, Brad Radke or someone of that ilk for the 3rd starter role (and a lefty would be ideal) then Thomson at the 4, then tghe 5th spot can and should be filled in by davbies or Lerew or James.

    Personally, I disagree with Mac and feel that James can be very effective.

    As far as the offseason, if we could just spend our biggest bucks on relievers and a lefty starter, I could even be sold that we don’t even need to add anyone to the offense if we deal away Estrada and LaRoche, let the rookies continue to flank Andruw in the outfield, and either go with Chipper or Marte at 1st and betemit at SS. The bottom line is our offense could still be solid even without adding another hitter or two (though i would like to) but we have to get 3-4 really GOOD new pitchers in the rotation and bullpen.

  8. Sansho,

    You maybe right but we’ve gotten people to take our crap before and we’ve also taken people’s crap at times to (Dan Kolbb anyone?)

    Here’s the bottom line: Hpracio Ramirez is a lefty starter at age 27 with a modicum of success in the past. Johnny Estrada was a 2004 all star and only 28. Adam LaRoche is an excellent defensive first baseman with some power and only 26, 27. All three of these guys will have some market value and there are teams out there that will have uses for these three.

  9. Alex, I agree that all of those players are potentially useful to other teams. It’s pretty cool that we’ve developed enough organizational depth of major-league-ready (or nearly so) talent that we can entertain the notion of trading guys like Estrada, LaRoche, Ramirez, etc. But all of these guys we’re discussing, in my opinion, are as good as they’re ever going to be, so I can’t see any team (even the DRays) giving up potential perennial All-Stars to get them.

  10. I barely follow other Atlanta sports at all, but I just saw on ESPN that Hawks center Jason Collier died suddenly this morning. He was only 28; that’s heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  11. Sansho,

    We may NOT get a stud prospect like Kazmir, I agree with that…I mean, when I spoke about going after Khalil Greene, I said to try & get him, we’d have to have a package that included Andy Marte.

    But to get some stud relievers or a quality starter, or maybe a good hitting 1st baseman or outfielder, and in return someone could get a starting catcher (Estrada) or a lefty starter (HoRam) and prospects…we can make some things work and not affect the payroll in the process.

    I also think it’s IMPERATIVE we deal Estrada so he doesn’t sulk around the clubhouse.

  12. Jenny,

    It’s very very sad. My wife & I lost a friend of ours a few years back who was a healthy, just engaged 27 year old doctor living in Baltimore. She had just been at my birthday party a week earlier…all of a sudden, a few days after my party she was in the hospital for a mysterious heart issue and was dead a week later. Just tragic.

    These kinds of deaths of perfectly healthy people in their lkate 20’s that just suddenly pass are some of the toughest to accept.

  13. I’m not saying that James won’t be effective, and I like his potential. But he wouldn’t be the first guy who put up good strikeout/walk numbers on the minor league level but couldn’t hack it on the major league level. In some ways, he resembles Bruce Chen, another lefty who had great minor league numbers but whose stuff wasn’t quite up to major league standards, at least at first. So you can’t plan around him until he proves he can do it in the majors.

    [And shivers run down your spine.]

  14. A potential closer the Braves might look at is Tom Gordon. He’s been in the game a long time, so I think there are less questions about his ability to do the job than, say, Kyle Farnsworth. When he left the White Sox as a free agent in ’03, most teams wanted him as a closer, but he chose to setup with the Yankees for a “chance to win”. Well, he didn’t win a ring, but he pitched really well. 2.57ERA 1.09WHIP .203BAA. He’s old, so he’d be a stopgap as the Braves tried to develop a closer from within, Devine or whoever. He’d probably be willing to sign another 2 year deal, which is nice because committing long term to a closer not named Gagne, Smoltz, Rivera, or Lidge is shaky. If the Braves could sign him for somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million, he might be more attractive than chasing BJ Ryan or Billy Wagner into the 7-8-9 million dollar range. He’s saved 46 in a season before, and his pricetag would allow Schuerholtz to be more creative with trades.

  15. I just question whether Billy Wagner is worth the extra 4-5 million. Or if BJ Ryan is worth the 2-3 million and 2 years extra. That extra money could be mean a lot – maybe the difference in keeping Furcal or losing him, maybe 3 extra pitches in the pen instead of two.

  16. completely different subject but I’m probably the only one who thinks LaRoche is going to be another John Olerud. When I look at what Olerud has done in his career (3 gold gloves, 2200 hits, 250 homers, .295 average, .400 OBP) I see LaRoche. I think he can do that. I also like him because of the type of hitter he is. It’s good to have a good average lefty type in the middle of your lineup. It balances out the power. Plus, I think Adam will consistently hit 25 home runs a season.

  17. while heehaw got us off the subject, i’m wondering if anyone has heard about Time Warner’s latest plans for selling the Braves? Carl Icahn has recently purchased a large chunk of Time Warner’s stock and has basically told them to sell AOL and look at selling other non-core assets. I think the Braves are part of the Time Warner ‘Networks’ division and obviously a non-core asset. Any idea on potential investor group buyers or a price?

  18. I don’t think that the Braves are that much of a non-core asset. The networks are core for TimeWarner, and the Braves are key to TBS and pretty much all that Turner South has going for it. If you sell them off, you run the danger of the Braves going to FSS.

  19. And Heehaw, sorry, but I think you’re crazy. I thought when he came up that LaRoche had Olerud potential, but he hasn’t shown anything of the sort. Top ten most comparable batters through age 25:

    # Andre Thornton (974)
    # Josh Phelps (960)
    # Ed Bouchee (959)
    # Glenn Davis (958)
    # Earl Torgeson (954)
    # Gus Suhr (953)
    # Wes Ferrell (953)
    # Greg Colbrunn (952)
    # Carlos Pena (951)
    # Bill White (949)

    Note the presence of a pitcher. Thornton and Davis were good players, but good players in contexts that dragged their numbers down; LaRoche isn’t really comparable. The more recent players are disappointments. Pena’s on the verge of washing out of baseball, Colbrunn was only a regular for two years.

    LaRoche might have years where he approaches Olerud’s AVG and SLG (but he’s never going to hit .363!), but his walk rate is far lower. Olerud was already a better player at 22 than LaRoche is at 25.

    All they really have in common is body type.

  20. 1. I never said I agreed with what my reader sent me but just presented it for all.

    2. The comparison trade citing Fossum, Lee, Phelps, etc. makes no sense at all considering that the Braves cited in the trade proposed by the reader are Horam, Thomson, and LaRoche who easily have more value.

    3. One reason I regret posting it was that it’s too early as we’re talking about a new incoming TB GM and don’t have a clue as to who it will be, and what philosophy comes in with him.

    4. I can’t see us dealing Marte for Khalil nor do I see the Padrees pulling the trigger considering the incredible popularity of Greene and the fact that he’s an execellent player.

  21. If LaRoche played in one of those jokey, tiny parks like Cleveland or Balimore, he’d hit 30 HRs, but so would a lot of first basemen.

    Hey Mac: Dogs/Tide at the Georgia Dome in December.

  22. Not to be an ass, but Jacobs actually supresses homeruns pretty severely, and Camden doesn’t help them that much.

    Maybe you meant to say “Philadelphia or Houston”.

  23. You know what? The entire ALCS umpiring crew needs to be replaced. I have never seen so many badly missed calls in my life, and every single one has led to a White Sox run. They suck.

  24. Mac, I love the sign idea.

    If we go after any D-Rays the one we should go after is Crawford.
    Crawford and a reliever for Estrada, LaRoche, and Chuck James.

  25. Michael, I attributed the trade proposal to your reader, not to you. I scoured the DRays major league roster for an equivalent trade to illustrate what our reaction might be to the notion of trading away our most promising prospects for a collection of mediocrities. Admittedly, the Rays’ ML roster doesn’t measure up to ours in terms of tradeable OK players, but my central point still holds. That being, who would trade the centerpieces of their organization (as Crawford as Kazmir surely are) for guys like LaRoche, Ramirez, et al?

  26. Listen, we’re not going to get Crawford. They trained him, he’s young, he’s good, he’s still cheap. It doesn’t matter who the GM is going to be, unless his philosophy is to try for 75 wins next year and then go sailing. He’s untouchable. It’s not going to happen.

  27. I have been believing all along that the Braves will acquire a frontline starting pitchers this winter. We have Smoltz and Hudson at the front, so that’s fixed. I think Hudson will have a great second year in Atlanta. His game 4 performance showed us that he can dominate a game like a true ace. I believe last year is only his adjustment period coming to Atlanta.

    The Braves have a lot of names after Smoltz and Hudson. They are Thomson, Ramirez, Sosa, Davies, James, and Lerew. I am not comfortable with anyone of them being the number three starting pitcher, especially when the health condition of Smoltz and Hudson. Keeping Furcal and getting bullpen help is one thing, but keeping a top notch starting rotation is the Braves’ priority announced by JS last year, and I don’t think, being a good executive, he will change the team’s strategy after one year.

    So, I am predicting the Braves will pick up Thomson’s option and trade him. Ramirez and Sosa will compete for the fourth spot in the rotation. Both of them will cheaper than Thomson by about $2.5 million. Adding that to the $6.5 million the Braves will get from Hampton’s insurance, that will be $9M available for that number three starter. Maybe the Braves will use a portion of that money on Furcal or reliever, I don’t know. I am just saying the Braves will have money to sign or trade for a number three starter which the Braves definitely need. No one is comfortable throwing Thomson or Sosa out as the number three starter in the rotation, JS is not stupid.

    Then, Davies, James, and Lerew will fight for the fifth spot. Personally, I would like that spot to go to James. Davies need a slider. A fastball, curve, and changeup are what Reitsma has, and we all know how successful Reitsma is. So, I hope Davies will be send to Richmond to learn to throw a slider. Lerew seems to handle the bullpen duty pretty well, he can be a long reliever next season and one of the future closer to be considered by the Braves like Boyer, Devine, and McBride.

  28. I’m not sure that Crawford is untouchable, or at least I’ve heard rumors that they might move him. But probably not this offseason. I’d love to have him, but he’s not really a natural leadoff hitter.

  29. There is one scenario, sansho1, that you forgot to consider: if Tampa Bay hires Ed Wade, we could trade Brian Jordan for Carl Crawford quite easily ;-)

    I bet poor ol’ Ed may have a hard time finding a job. With all the new young assistants coming up and Brian Cashman on the market, there may not be a place for a guy who got $95 million a year and never made the playoffs. Theo Epstein might be on the market, too, if the Red Sox don’t trash this ridiculous business of offering him the same salary as Chuck LaMar. I know you’re supposed to start low, but they better hope he doesn’t get pissed at being offered a lousy $750,000 and walk away. Give him the Phillies and we could have a problem. Actually, put anybody other than Ed or Chuck in charge of the Phillies and we may have a problem. Of course, he could go to Washington…that would remove a competitor for us next year.

  30. I am comfortable with Thomson as a number three starter. I am comfortable with Sosa as a number four. I would be satisfied with the top four even without any trades.

    The fifth spot is meant for experimentation, anyway. Davies probably isn’t ready. HR really isn’t very good. I say give James, who shone in his brief time up, a shot to start the season. If he falters, maybe Davies will be ready. Lerew feels like a reliever to me, too, but he could be a number five as well.

    The pitching weaknesses of the Braves are not having a proven lefty starter and having an inconsistent bullpen. If Boyer and McBride are the bullpen “aces”, the team might be in a bit of trouble.

  31. JoeyT, you are very brave with being comfortable going into a season with three health concern at the top of the rotation. On the other hand, I am not saying it will not happen, I just think it is unlikely.

    I am very comfortable with Sosa being our fourth pitcher. The guy throws a awesome fastball and slider, and he started throwing the cut-back fastball late into the season. Leo will force Sosa to use more changeup next season. With an improved endurance, Sosa has a huge potential to be very very good.

    The bullpen situation needs to be addressed. That’s for sure. With Kolb, Reitsma, Martin, and Gryboski combining $6.8M in last year’s payroll, JS has a little bit of money to use considering the back-end of the bullpen will be Boyer, McBride, Devine, and possibly Lerew (all will be very cheap). The Braves may bring Brower back instead of Lerew as he will not be that expensive either. I guess we will see how this market will work out. Still hoping to see the Braves to keep Farnsworth and/or trading for Brian Fuentes and/or J.C. Romero.

  32. Mac, Love your site.

    With Hampton going down, the starting pitching is the one area on the team that has me up nights.

    The only one who dosen’t give me ulcers is is Hudson. Somltz, in my opinion is the greatest Brave ever, but we all saw how his arm was about to fall off the past 3 post-seasons. Best case for him is to take the first part of the year off and join the team in July, but that ain’t going to happen.

    Sosa and Thompson are both coin flips. I feel like we saw the best in Sosa this year. I would love to see him move to the pen. I think he could be dominite in a set-up role. He only goes 5-6 innings a game anyway. 7-8 on his best nights, which dosen’t come too often. You need a guy who can consistently give you 7 out of your #3 spot. Sosa ain’t that. Thompson is the better option, assuming he stays healthy. Sure, he can be effective against the lower and mid-level teams in the NL, he is not a dominate, lights-out picther that you need in the playoffs against the best teams.

    I have no idea what happened to HoRam, but he sure did suck this year.

    Out of the 3 rookies competing for a job, I like James the best.

    Two things are likely to happen:
    1) JS makes another Hudson-like deal and brings another all-star picther to sure up the rotaion. Of course if this happens, you can kiss Furcal goodbye and you can be expecting to loose 3 inches to your hair-line as a reslut of the pen.

    2) The rotation will remain the same as this year with Smoltz, Hudson, Thompson/ Sosa, and HoRam and rookies competing for the 5th start. When Smotlz (gulp) goes down at the end of the year, one of the rookies will either step up, or not.

  33. I don’t get why people prefer James to Davies. Davies was pretty dominant in his first few innings in the Majors, too. I don’t see why a couple innings of Chuck James, when the league hasn’t had a chance to catch up to him like they have Davies, is enough to declare him a better pitcher.

    Also, Josh Beckett also throws fastball (albeit a faster one), change-up, curveball, and he does fine. I’d give the 5th spot to Davies.

  34. Nothing happened to HR, except that he went from being a lot lucky to a little lucky. More telling is what didn’t happen to HR. Like LaRoche, what’s noticible is that he didn’t get better, which is the opposite of what you’d hope would happen with young players.

  35. Stu, there are two reason’s I’m partial to James over Davies:

    1) Handedness. The rotation is already right-heavy.

    2) We have at least some experience with Davies indicating he might not be ready for prime time yet. James has shown no indication. True, he might not be any good once the league catches up to him, but he might. With Davies, there’s at least some indication he won’t be good yet. I’d rather give a shot to a guy with nothing negative yet than a guy who’s been beaten up a bit.

    But, really, handedness is the thing.

  36. I just wanted to add this. According to PrOPS Crawford WAY overperformed this year. I expect next year to be disappointing. Not trying to be an a-hole, just passing along the info. I would not be surprised it the new mangement sent him out.

  37. Fasicnating.
    Does anyone see the delicious irony should Brian Cashman make the D-Rays a contender?

    I agree with Alex R.’s use of the word IMPERATIVE. By signing him, we’d give our potential trade partners a figure to work with. By adding either Laroche or Estrada we might tempt a NL West team, who knows that’s a division up for grabs. Maybe we can sell the Giants that Adam is the next J.T. Snow!

    I think our veterans will hate to think Johnny lost his job due to injury, but there’s more to it than that.

    I’ve been listening for mention of Kelly Johnson. He’s the one I can’t figure out. Are we going to have an April where we’re bouncing kids back and forth to Richmond depending on who has options left?

    Any thoughts? (Oh, and ROLL TIDE!)

  38. I think your right Kevin. For the first time in a long time we actually have really god pices to offer in a trade and may be able to get a few players to take us over the hump. Let’s also remember that we may not want to seel off all these parts yet, they are the future.

    Alabama will need to play better this weeek to beat Tennessee. UT is better than Ole Miss (but not much)

  39. Hey Mac,

    I know that there has been talk about having a Braves Journal night at the Ted. I think we should all try to work something out and go to a game next season.

  40. Letting Adam Laroche go would be pure foolishness. He has the pretty swing of a young Will Clark, and he will hopefully be a Brave for a long time. As for Furcal, he does not swing the bat like a leadoff hitter(see OPS). Swinging for the fences with no one on base is not smallball. Plus the DUIs are too much of a distraction. Let him go, and bring some bullpen back for him. His strong arm is fabulous, but isnt it just for show? If his arm is that amazing make him our closer or trade him for a real one. Also Devine on the post season roster instead of Kolb was a waste. I cant help but think his addition to the post season roster was a mistake. At least Kolb couldve kept the ball down in the zone. Spring is far away but I cant wait. Isn’t our true problem the ownership?

  41. Well, looking at Tennessee’s offense, you probably need 17 points to win. Can Alabama score 17 without Prothro? We’ll see. Hopefully, they just looked ahead.

    Everybody remember that if you have five candidates for the starting rotation, someone will get hurt. That’s just how it is. You need six, or better seven, starting candidates. So the Braves have less flexibility there than you think. But I still don’t see another Hudson-type trade coming. (Though there are rumors about Zito again. Gammons suggested the Mets, but the A’s will need pitching coming back, which suggests the Braves. Davies, Sosa, Johnson?)

  42. Great analysis as usual Mac. Somehow I think we will obtain one more veteran starter. I don’t know why I believe that because it’s a bit counterintuitive, but I think that we will.

    My guess is that we’ll also pick up the option of Thomson.

  43. Mac, I don’t think “Moneyball” teams would touch Sosa. They’d probably like KJ, though.

  44. Actually, I was just trying to recreate last year’s deal with players we still have. Though the A’s have their own statistical analysis and sometimes like players the traditional sabermetricists don’t. At any event, the Braves wouldn’t make that deal unless they got Zito’s signature on an extension.

  45. Just mulling over the A’s. A possible trade with them, depending on how you value Reitsma, might be Reitsma and LaRoche for Dan Johnson. Dan Johnson is a upgrade over LaRoche, giving the Braves at least a reasonable first baseman with probably more upside, and Reitsma is probably valued pretty decently by the A’s.

    Personally, I would not like the trade, but you know I think Reitsma’s a pretty good pitcher. If the Braves front office is more along the lines of the average poster here, though, that’s the kind of trade that could happen.

  46. I seriously doubt the Braves will be parting with Davies (since he’s one of those Atlanta kids) any time soon, barring just an unreal trade proposal, which I don’t think Zito quite qualifies as. Sorry about ending that sentence with a preposition.

    The thought of acquiring Zito and signing him to an extension does make me drool, though.

  47. Completely, totally off subject, but does anyone know who won the Contender Rematch with Mora and Manfredo?

  48. I’d give my right arm for the left arm of Zito, or maybe we could just give them Estrada, Johnson, Lerew…probabably not enough but I would look into nabbing Zito the second I could

  49. I was just checking the Braves’ official site and saw an article that they had given permission for the Yankees to interview Leo for their pitching coach vacancy. Comments?

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