121 thoughts on “Free agents, free thread, free candy”

  1. Furcal will not be a Met, I can assure you. Regardless of what anyone says, a move of Furcal to second will not happen. They think too highly of Jose Reyes to move him back to second (Matsui). I am betting that if he is not enticed to come back to Atlanta, the Cubs look like a lock, along with Brian Giles, to score them in free agency.

  2. It seems from what we all hear that if the Braves come close (in terms of dollars), that he will stay a Brave. Let’s pray he doesn’t become a Met.

  3. I have a really wierd feeling, John Schuerholz will give Billy Wagner some money… Too much, wrecking us for a few years. I think he wants to get rid of this problem fast… I think it would be a joke if we signed him. I hope to God we do not let Furcal and Farnsworth walk and pick up a scrub for 10m per. Not good. I would LOVE to see Scot Shields closing for us and Tom “Flash” Gordon as the primary set-up man and insurance to Shields if he gets hurt. What do you think of that?

  4. Just because Scott Shields looked great setting up in the playoffs, let’s not fall in love with him as a closer. Whatever the real or imagined difference between setting up and closing, lots of guys have had problems making the transition. Farnsworth at least has shown the ability to close and he has had some important saves (the Marlins game was important at the time) despite what happened in Houston. It would be nice to have Scott Shields, he sure looked good, but I have seen too many situations where guys projected to the next level did not pan out.

  5. Peter Gammons just said he is feels Furcal is going to the Cubs and Nomar is going to play the outfiled for someone.

  6. Ok, I will give you several examples of great set-up men who have become great closers, Brad Lidge set up Octavio Dotel, Mariano River set up John Wetteland, Octavio Dotel set up Billy Wagner, “K-Rod” set up for Troy Percival…Enough said. With the nastiness of Shields’ stuff, I imagine it would not be hard for us to give him the opportunity to close, and I believe he is getting a raise in arbitration, and we’d prolly only have to give up LaRoche or Estrada.

  7. I understand the Scot Shields infatuation, but if LAA has a good, cheap player it can depend on for outs in the late innings, what makes anyone think they are going to let him go? Hell, if we are going to fantasize about acquiring other teams’ good young talent we should pick up Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Howard, and Travis Hafner. Trust me, nobody wants a package of the ultra-average LaRoche, Kelly Johnson, and [insert name of young untested picher].

  8. Upton isn’t going anywhere. Why do people keep acting like Tampa is going to trade him?

    Dotel was very good as a closer in Houston. He didn’t pitch well in that role in Oakland, probably because he isn’t well suited to the Foulke-type closer usage.

  9. It’s not a huge deal, but one guy that caught my eye from the FA list is Rudy Seanez.

    He’s 37, but he only made $550,000 last year. He also very quietly had an outstanding season. He’s been a Brave twice & he just seems like a fit.

    His numbers:
    7-1 W-L, 2.69 ERA, 60 IP, 49 H, 84 K, 22 BB, 4 HR

    If we had a setup guy who performed like that, it would’ve helped more than a little bit.

  10. The Braves already have young enough arms in the bullpen, I don’t see a problem with them chasing some old dudes. Ruday Seanez, Chris Hammond, Flash Gordon, Todd Jones. Whatever, they’re all ancient, but they all put up numbers last year. Mixing a couple of those guys in with a real closer and the current bullpen arms would do the trick I think.

    While it may seem that no team would want LaRoche, Ramirez, Kelly Johnson, or “untested pitcher”, let’s not forget the Dan Meyer, Charles Thomas, and Juan Cruz got us Tim Hudson. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if JS locks himself in a room with Billy Beane and gets something done for Zito in December.

  11. Seriously doubt the Zito deal… Zito will be the only remnant of “the big three” left in Oak-town for years to come…Rich Harden is who you want, barring he stays healthy, and B.J. Upton wouldn’t be a bad trade target because for one, he is like 20 or 21, two, he has got a lot of upside, three, he is faster, and probably a better baserunner if given the chance. He’s still young, but he really sucks defensively, he can cover ground, but it’s a scare when he throws to first for a put out, he had like 19 errors or something like that, and I heard TB was thinking about converting him to an OF… Doesn’t make sense with their abundance of OF (Gomes, Baldelli, Crawford, Delmon Young, and that one castoff the Braves let go of, not bad 10hr last season)

  12. If we go Wily Mo Pena, it would be Langerhans comming off the bench. The Reds won’t trade him, or any of there young outfielders, even thought they have 0 pitching. I think they think that baseball is going to allow a short fileder soon or something. I can’t think of another reason why they keep all five of those guys.

  13. Wily Mo strikes out way too much to be an everyday, productive, OF, he was benched when KG jr. got hurt, it was Kearns, Dunn, and I think Ryan Freel, he was pissed, and wants out I believe. Rocco Baldelli is talking long term with TB, so forget that

  14. Use the furcal money to get BJ Ryan. Todd Jones would also be a good addition to the bullpen. Wagner is too expensive.

  15. I just think Schuerholtz will retire soon, Bobby will retire soon, and Smoltz will retire soon. If there is one thing JS will want to do, it is to leave this team with some capable starting pitching. If he could trade for Zito and sign him long term, he’s guaranteeing the Braves at least 2 top of the rotation starters for the next several years.

    It’ll be years before Oakland considers giving up Harden. Zito’s salary could prove to be a problem for them. Harden won’t start making big money for a while. And who knows, maybe getting Zito could help the bullpen by allowing Sosa to move back there. I think he could potentially be an *excellent* 7th-8th inning guy. Of course, he did show a ton of promise as a starter, but I’m not sure if he’d ever be anything more than a solid 4. If he gets comfortable in the bullpen, he could be lights out.

  16. any chance of bagging f. thomas, or is he strictly a dh now since injury? i dont know if he would even be worth the risk, but i sure would love his numbers that he’s able to put up. he was an auburn boy, but i dont know if he lives in the south. any thoughts?

  17. Man, people go nuts with speculation in November. Maybe Yankee and Red Sox fans can say “Why not go after X?” but the Braves aren’t that kind of team anymore.

    Remember that Atlanta’s budget restrictions mean they are no longer a big player on the free agent market. Schuerholz may snake a deal or two, even something on the scale of getting Hudson last winter, but going after any FA in the $10m+ range would cripple any roster flexibility and make it impossible to give the usual raises to players that have earned them.

  18. HOLY CRAP. Theo Epstein walked away from the Red Sox. I’m in disbelief. He must have been REALLY unhappy.

    The Globe has a LOT of explaining to do.

  19. He sure did. ESPN.com had to go through the trouble of changing one of their headlines from “Epstein signs new 3 year deal” to “Epstein steps down as BoSox GM”. You’ve just got to love the news media. So much accountability.

  20. From what I hear, he may leave baseball entirely. I guess he’s burned out. That’s sad at 31; hope he moves on to something else where he’s happier. The Red Sox are screwed on this one. They have to hire a new GM and the winter meetings are coming up fast. Plus everyone was so sure he was staying and then the rug got pulled out. Theo’s revenge on the Globe?

  21. Frank exercised his option worth 12m for next season and is staying in Chi-town,but he’ll be bought out for 3.5m, but will return with a 1 year 1m deal, total guess, it saves the white sox alot of dough, and no one will pick up his salary

  22. Theo is home grown, so i doubt he’ll return to baseball, especially when he has a freakin business degree and wants to make more than the $300,000+ he made with the sox

  23. James, he turned down a 3-year offer for $1.3 million per year. This obviously was not about money. It was personal. And I bet he moves away from Boston. He can’t leave his apartment without being mobbed and it’ll be worse now because people will be begging him to reconsider; he needs a life.

  24. Jenny, someone with his credentials and education could easily make more than 400k per year out in the real world. I don’t think it’s about money, but there’s no doubt that he’ll make more as non-GM than he did or would have as GM.

  25. Stu da man…Took the words out of mouth…He did make around 300,000, and personally I hope Theo chills until John Schuerholz steps down.

    Jenny (Jen-nee) (Pronoun) – Great for jumping down my back about philosophical jibber jabber which makes her look like a doofus…Great Job… I think you are the one that needs a life, other than picking on the j-man about racism and other stupid stuff… Theo probably left because he smelt you.

  26. Did the Braves pick up Thompson’s option? If so, will JS seek another starter (Zito) or concentrate on upgrading the pen? How much $$ will the Braves be willing to gamble on Farnsworth, given his past? I agree that contenders are unlikely to part with cheap performers like Shields. This leaves free agents like Wagner and B. J. Ryan. It’s unlikely JS will spend more for one of these guys than for Furcal, and that’s probably what it would take to land them. I think the Braves stand pat and let the kids struggle unless someone blows their socks off with an offer.

  27. The Epstein decision is weird. Is there any chance he gets more than 1.3 million a year anywhere? The Yanks just locked up Cashman long term, and the Dodgers aren’t going for another Beane guy after the Depo debacle. Unless he thinks he can get a good deal out of the Phillies, he just gave up a TON of money over something, and I can’t imagine what’s worth that much money. It has to be more than a pissing contest.

    And, yes, Mac, I would LOVE for him to come to the Braves, but if he won’t work for the Sox for $1.3 mil, I can’t imagine him coming to the Braves for six figures.

  28. Wait, my bad. JS makes about 1.6 mil. So maybe Epstein isn’t out of line walking away. I think he can make JS money. Probably from the Phillies. My thoughts on the GM market were somewhat out of line with actual values.

  29. Epstein leaving is a “pissing contest” only insomuch as Lucchino caved to Theo’s reasonable contract demands, then had an article placed in the Globe that put Theo in an extremely unfavorable light.

    Red Sox Nation is crushed by Epstein’s departure, and most lay the blame at Lucchino’s feet, with a little bit left over for the Boston Globe and their consistently negative, “insider-leaked” coverage that is usually just the viewpoint that Lucchino wants in the news without it being directly linked to him.

    I keep hoping the Phillies will sign Gillick as their GM–he specializes in rebuilding teams, and the Phils don’t need that. Regardless, I don’t think they’ll get Theo this year, because a lot of people seem to think he’ll be taking a year off before he listens to new offers.

  30. Epstein’s leverage is his ability to take a year off. I think he’ll use that to snag a four or five year, 1.5-1.6 mil a year contract with the Phillies. They were targeting Cashman; it’s not inconceivable they’ll throw some money at Epstein.


    Epstein’s Mother

  31. Well, I just did something really immature and sent off an angry e-mail to Dan Shaughnessy thanking him for that tabloid column he put in the Sunday Globe and asking him to please consider the impact his words can have. That column has been cited as the final straw for Theo, who apparently found out that Lucchino planted it. I know it’s all about the story, but it’s sad when someone has the power to make himself so widely heard and uses it so badly. I bet Shaughnessy has thousands of these e-mails in his box and won’t read any of them, so I wasted my stupidity and my time, but it makes me feel a little better. Please refrain from telling me I shouldn’t have done that; I’m not feeling so good right now. I really like the Red Sox and this is horrible.

    James, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so can we call a truce? My racism comment was way out of line and I apologize, but I don’t know what was in my other comment that made you mad.

  32. I have a suspicion that it’s not over between the Red Sox and Theo. It has alot to do with money because he asked to be paid the same that they offered Billy Beane to come over a few years ago which I think is about 2.5 mil a year. There will be an uproar in Boston because he’s the guy who finally brought them a World Championship. I know a little about that city having lived there for a couple of years and then being married to someone from there for over eight.

  33. I have to believe that Theo woke up this morning and just realized he couldn’t do it any more. Think about it: you work 18 hours a day, live like a hermit, can’t go out to Dunkin Donuts without getting mobbed, deal with bosses that are untrustworthy, and get analyzed up and down in the media. At some point, it becomes unbearable. Shaughnessy’s column sounds like it was the point at which Theo snapped. But I’m starting to believe this was a quality of life issue. In which case I applaud Theo for sticking to principle and following his heart instead of his wallet. I hope I can do that if I’m ever faced with a choice like this.

  34. In this magical world, the clear choice is Dunn. It’s not even close. He has ridiculous power, and he gets on base more. Those far outweigh Crawford’s BA.

    I wouldn’t complain, however, if these magical faeries dropped a .300 hitter in our laps.


    OK, truce: “Live and let live..”

  36. James must be Chuck LaMar in disguise. This guy is raving on and on about Tampa Bay’s little talent that he’s either LaMar or a ticket tearer at the Trop. What’s next, we should get Rob Bell back?

    By the way, “J-Man”, I know there was a truce and all, but someone disagreeing with you doesn’t mean you gotta be “frontin'” and going for the personal attacks. Ya feel me, dawg?

  37. In a real world, I am afraid the Braves will not be able to keep Furcal or get Brian Gile, and Dunn/crawford will not fall to our laps…but ending up trading for a mediocre sluggo/one year rental like Huff…

    In respect of the “comments” from Marcus, I just take it as another story made up by the media. If Marcus is really complaining about the Braves payroll, he should check that the Braves are spending $20M more than the Padres did last season.

  38. Honestly, I don’t understand the fascination on Dunn. The guy is essential a poor version of Andruw with many more walks and strikeouts with no defense. When people are complaining about Andruw not hitting above .270, Dunn has a hard time keeping his batting average above .250. He will leave runners on base at a higher rate than Andruw and will be even more frustrating to watch. Andruw can hit long home run as well as Dunn, what is there to like about Dunn?

    Crawford is basically another Furcal playing leftfield with less walk and little more power.

  39. I’ve made this known quite a few times already, but I’d be all over Dunn. Yes, he strikes out, but he’s also good for at least 45 homeruns, which will allow Andruw to see even more fastballs to hit.

  40. Adam Dunn, similar batters through Age 25:

    Similar Batters through Age 25
    Compare Stats

    1. Darryl Strawberry (927)
    2. Reggie Jackson (926) *
    3. Jose Canseco (918)
    4. Troy Glaus (909)
    5. Tom Brunansky (902)
    6. Juan Gonzalez (901)
    7. Boog Powell (901)
    8. Rocky Colavito (891)
    9. Tony Conigliaro (890)
    10. Harmon Killebrew (883) *

    Good players and a couple of great ones, but from a low-average era, except for Glaus…

    The fascination with Dunn is largely because the Reds have four outfielders and he’s the best of the younger ones. That he hits .248 is a lot less important than that he gets on base at a .383 clip and has slugged .518 for his career, .569 and .540 the last two years. Plus he’s lefthanded and the Braves need a lefty power bat. As a hitter, he’s not particularly comparable to Andruw. Dave Justice, a little.

  41. Rob Bell is suicidal dawg… Lay off. Yo trick, I got some ebonics for ya. What it be?

    I ain’t Chuck Lamar,

    I got a job, bra!

    I don’t go to the Trop,

    too far a drive..but I got a prop…

    Carl Crawford be better than that Adum Dunn trick.

    I’m just sayin’ “dawg,” He betta than what we had wit Robert Fick,

    I don’t want Adam’s corn-fed ass whiffin every time we got the bases chucked,

    but now since you pistol whipped I guess ya f…..,

    ya feel me…dawg??

    My nuts itch man…Get off me

  42. Yeah, I can see that too Mac. His walk rate is basically the one thing that jump out from his other stats besides the hrs. He will be challenging for the strikeout king title every year as well. Don’t take me wrong, I am not saying he is a bad player, but I think he will be even more frustrating to watch than Andruw.

    Besides, I can almost picture in my head that Adam grounds into a double play to kill the inning after every Dunn’s walk.

  43. kc, in this magical universe, Dunn would be replacing LaRoche.

    Mac, those similarity scores undervalue Dunn’s walks. Even though hits are more valuable than walks, getting on base is really valuable, and he gets on base the amount you would expect from a .330 hitter, not a .250.

  44. I like the one Adam limit. If the idea is to replace Dunn with LaRoche, then it is really a no-brainer. Really, I just hate strikeouts. Dunn has this all or nothing hitting approach (walk, K, HR or doubles) that if he ever improves his contactand lowering his skriteout rate, he will be a monster.

  45. There was actually a stretch late this season when I was rooting for LaRoche to strike out if there was a guy on first. He had some kind of double play tear going.

  46. Yeah, simscores do that. The two Hall of Famers, Reggie and Killer, did walk a lot, if not quite as much as Dunn; most of them had walk rates in the .090 “isolated on-base” range. Generally, players with the same hit patterns will have similar walk patterns, but it doesn’t work as well for someone as extreme as Dunn.

    SS deducts one point for every 25 walks, but one for each 10 RBI. So for walks, Dunn is only 11 points different from Gonzalez (the outlier on the other side) and 2-8 different from the rest. James was and is actually a traditionalist in many ways.

  47. Mac, I always thought Klesko’s problem is really due to Petco Park, and Ryan didn’t have as big as a problem in strikeouts except for two seasons. Maybe I missed something in the late 90s, did Ryan slow down his swing?

    Just looking into Dunn’s career stats more closely, his home/away split is pretty bad except for 2004.

  48. KJ

    I can live with this offense, but is the rotation of Smoltz, Hudson, Thomson, Sosa, and Ramirez good enough?

  49. Mac??? James = Traditionalist? By what means?

    Like weighting RBI more than walks, for one. For that matter, take a look at the original Historical Abstract sometime; he doesn’t list on-base percentages when running all-decade teams. Little things like that. A lot of what he’s published is old-fashioned historical research rather than “stathead” stuff.

  50. Bill Lajoie is also going to be available in some capacity. Apparently he got pissed off by what happened today and resigned minutes after Epstein did. I don’t really see any use for him, but thought I’d just throw that out there.

  51. Theo Epstein rumored going to the Dodgers because LA just fired there GM 3 days ago. Also, he has a Law Degree and he may just take a year off and see his options. 2 rumors around Boston saying Bob Melvin or John Towers may be the next GM in Red Sox nation???

  52. In ref. to Theo. the Red Sox executives didn’t like the rock & roll style atmosphere in the Red Sos clubhouse. They gave Bronson Arroyo as a example because Bronson just cut a pretty good CD a few months ago. Plus as the whole world knows of Johnny Damon’s hairdo. I am a rock & roll person myself and the Sox are my 2nd best team..but I spoke to several Sox fans and they all say as long as they win games and the Red Sox nation doen’t care how they dress.

  53. at least if Furcal leaves, the best place for him to go is to the Mets, so he can suck there like every other free agent they overpsend on.

  54. Well, I think your price comment is kind of the inferred reason he leaves, if he leaves. There really wouldn’t be any other reason for him to go somewhere else.

  55. Just reading on the Sporting News about the great season Brandon Wood is having in the AFL, after a monster season at Rancho Cucamonga (sp?)….meaning the Angels may be willing to part with Orlando Cabrera…..what would you think of him as a Furcal replacement?

  56. If we were to only have one lefty in the rotation next year. Would you rather have someone like Ramirez or give someone like James a shot at it? That’s of course if we dont go after a Kenny Rogers or a Barry Zito….

  57. 2 for Furcal, there is no way the Cubs or Mets won’t overspend on him

    3 for Farnsworth, the reliever market is flooded wtih guys with better reputations than him, plus it doesn’t look like Reits or KolBB will be back.

    Theo left for personal reasons, and I still don’t believe in him as a GM. Sure the Sox won a world series, but they had a payroll of about $130 million, and then he made some bad personell moves in the offseason. I don’t see how he would fit into a constrained budget.

  58. New Steriod Bill for Baseball:


    proposed: Like the earlier bills from Bunning and McCain, this one is based on the Olympic model, calling for a two-year suspension for an athlete who fails a steroids test for the first time and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Athletes would be tested at least five times a year, three during the season and two in the offseason.

  59. That’s great, and I hope Congress forcibly implements it. Don Fehr will have a cow.

    3 on Farnsworth.

  60. According to atlantabraves.com, the team picked up John Thomson’s option. I don’t think they plan on trading him, either. I think he’ll be in the rotation one more year.

  61. Personally, I don’t care if there is or isn’t steroids in baseball. It won’t change how I view the game either way. I will still watch it, and I will still root for the guys I like, mostly Braves, and root against the guys I don’t like. Good work Bud Selig, for being about 15 years too late, and then not being able to save face for MLB.

  62. I was looking thru the free agents and saw Graffanino’s name. I was trying to recall what he did during his time in Atlanta. In ’97 he split time w/Lockhart at 2B and before the ’99 season we released him. Was he not very good in Atlanta or was he just the odd man out since Lockhart eventually became the everyday starter.

  63. Just from memory, Graffanino was awful offensively, and very mediocre on defense, right handed and slow…..like a white, short, stocky, slow Andres Thomas

  64. Sorry didnt see the previous posts. Does anyone believe that the Braves might go after Burnett and/or Zito. This would allow Sosa to move back to the Pen..

    This might be a dream but take a look:

    Smoltz, Hudson, Zito, Thomson, Burnett

    7th – Boyer
    8th – Sosa
    9th – Farnsworth…..sometimes dreams come true

    The A’s could be willing to dump Zito for LaRoche(or Marte), Estrada, and Ramirez and Burnett might not draw as much attention after his actions this past year

  65. One of the worst moves Theo made is to let Orlando Cabrera walk away and he signed Edgar Rentria for 4 years. Edgar had about 30 errors this season. I love Orlando C. and if the Braves don’t resign Furcal they should go after Orlando.
    Now who is the SS the Angels have waiting in the wings????As for Tony G. I don’t thing the Braves should let go Marcus Giles. Marcus is a better ballplayer plus he is younger. Tony G. made that cosely error against the White Sox ala Bill Buckner in 1986 against the Mets. Any word on B. Giles coming to the Bravos???

  66. Graffanino was stuck in the righthanded platoon role, which can be hard to thrive in because you get few ABs. He was very good in 1997 (.258 .344 .446) but very poor in 1998 (.211 .275 .318) and they gave up on him. That was a mistake, but understandable.

  67. I don’t think the Braves could afford both Burnett and Zito. Who do the Braves have in the minors to play 1st base if you going to trade Adam LaRoche, Andy Marte, Rameriz.
    How about Trading LaRoche and put Chipper Jones on 1st base and have Marte play 3rd base???The pitcher the Braves should get is Zito. He has a better record then Burnett. Burnett is only a 500 pitcher. The more I think of it I don’t think Zito will go. Who does the A’S have to replaace him. He will cost you alot more then Hudson???

  68. I think the Braves should resign Kyle Farnsworth and forget about Billy Wagner. Kyle is much younger and the guy is still learning how to pitch. OK so he gave up that big grand slam to the Astros but you should not give up on him.
    In 2004 season Mariano Rivera gave up some big hits to the Red Sox in the playoffs. I believe he blew 2 games to the Red Sox so you think the Yankees will give up on him…I don’t think so….

  69. Sam, I didnt want to trade both LaRoche and Marte. I was just including either one in the trade. Personally I dont think Marte is an upgrade over LaRoche (at this point). Both will probably be around .270 w/ 20-30 HR’s. If we get rid of LaRoche you will probably see Marte at 1st, I just dont see Chipper wanting to move.

    If we forget about Wagner (in which I think we already have) and dont resign Furcal, then I think we could afford Zito, Farnsworth, and Burnett. We would have to look at Betemit playing short – which I believe he could handle. This would eliminate any possibility of bringing another big bat to Atlanta though./..

  70. Sam, I think you will be hard pressed to find someone else crazy enough to put Rivera and Farnsworth in the same sentence, as you did. I know Rivera, and Farnsworth, sir, is no Rivera, and will not be accorded the same leeway in terms of a rough stretch here or there.

  71. csg, I don’t think the A’s will be looking to dump players if all we can offer is Estrada and LaRoche and they have Chavez who is already a proven 3B star, so Marte’s out of the question. Billy Beane’s not going to just dump proven players for fringe players like you’re suggesting. I say go for some of Tampa Bay’s young guns and I also don’t want to part ways with Giles, who is really close to borderline MVP seasons.

  72. JaredL, youre probably right, but they did get rid of Hudson and Moulder for younger inexperienced players. Weve suggested Marte playing 1st and that could be a possiblity for them if they aren’t interested in LaRoche.

    I wouldn’t ever get rid of Giles. He is a franchise type player and will probably hang around for a while

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