125 thoughts on “Open Vein Thread”

  1. So on Rob Neyer’s espn.com chat today, someone asked about a Smoltz for Zumaya trade. I assume it’s not so much a rumor, but thought it was interesting nonetheless.
    Would yall pull the trigger on that one? I’d have to think about it.
    I’m not sure I would want to trade Smoltz no matter what (same w/ Chipper and Andruw), but it would be nice to have someone in the bullpen who could close a game out and Zumaya is young and cheap and talented.
    What d’ya think?

  2. From the upcoming series preview on http://www.atlantabraves.com:

    “(Daniel) Cabrera has had control problems all season long and leads the Majors in wild pitches. He has lost in his past three starts.”

    I would bet my left arm that we come out swinging at first pitches like there’s no tomorrow.

  3. I would ask for more than just Zumaya. He’s not all that valuable unless he’s a starter (for all the Braves’ bullpen woes this year, even with a guy like Zumaya in there we’d still be a bad team – he can’t pitch every inning the starters don’t).

  4. Whose ID was it to start being so aggressive at the plate? I understand Francoure and Andruw, that is just how they are, but Giles, Chipper what is going on?

  5. Re: The Bullpen

    It seems that everytime we ‘declare’ someone new who shouldn’t be a closer, the closer, ie. Reitsma, Ray and now Sosa…they ultimately seem to fail miserably until we try someone else.

    I think the point is this.

    If the Braves care at all to still make a last ditch attempt at a winning streak and staying in (or gettin into) the wildcard race, they will have to bring in a pitcher via trade.

    there’s simply no one realiable in the pen to be the closer.

    The only releiver yet who has not ‘failed’ is Kevin Barry…and he’s only made 1 Major League appearance.

    But if the Braves don’t act within the next week or two on getting a guy with a stud arm, somehow, they really might as well trade some veterans and throw in a towel on this season…because Villareal, Sosa, Paronto, Yates, Ray…these guys are just not good enough to be consistent, night after night, in the 9th.

  6. what about Hudson for Zumaya. Hudson has been a failure since coming to the Braves. He’s had shinning moments, but overall he’s been a # or #4 type pitcher for us.

  7. how about we swap relievers w/ Houston. They (for some reason) suck and we (for every reason, i.e. book deals) suck so we should try it. Change of scenery!

  8. John Schuerholz said in the New York Times that Smoltz wouldn’t be traded. Also Smoltz pretty much killed the rumors himself (see game thread for June 28.) Anyone talking about it now is either delusional or the New York media, who seem to think every player belongs to the Yankees.

  9. I like the change of scenery idea. Trade our garbage for other teams’ garbage. It wouldn’t feel like the same old let down when the new garbage failed at least for the first few weeks. And who knows? Maybe somebody would actually start pitching decently on a new team.

    But in reality all JS is going to do is reactivate Reitsma.

  10. Put Smoltz in the pen. Its past time to do it. The rotation:

    Hudson, Hampton, Davies, James, Ramirez can be pretty solid. Package Thomson and Giles for another #3 or #4 starter just in case.

    Pen: Smoltz, Sosa, Boyer, McBride, Foster, and spend another $4 to $5 million and upgrade. That is very reasonable and it plugs a lot of holes.

  11. “But in reality all JS is going to do is reactivate Reitsma.”

    Is Schuerholz the one that activates people? But yeah, and Barry will be sent down despite three scoreless innings against the Yankees.

    End the insanity.

  12. “Put Smoltz in the pen. Its past time to do it. The rotation:

    Hudson, Hampton, Davies, James, Ramirez can be pretty solid. Package Thomson and Giles for another #3 or #4 starter just in case.”

    In 2007, that is exactly what I’d like to see. But this year it does nothing as Hampton won’t be back until 2007, and probably neither will Davies.

  13. If the Braves send Kevin Barry down with his impressive work and their crappy a– bullpen, I am personally going to lock n’ load and head to the CNN Center. That would be utter insanity if KEVIN BARRY loses his spot to mr. 9.11 ERA, Judy Reitsma. I can’t imagine JS would be such an arrogant, unfeeling, corporate prick to do that.

    Re: JS not caring anymore.

    he all but admitted it in that damn book…he made fun of Ted Turner like Ted was a ‘dumb hillbilly’ because he basically gave JS a free spending way to to improve the team. JS MADE FUN OF TED TURNER FOR BEING THAT WAY….HE ADMITTED HE PREFERS HAVING A CAP.

    If that’s not bad enough…a corporate, faceless owner, with their corporate stooge emplyee Schuerholz, he didn’t even use the full budget this offseason to add another realistic arm or two to that bullpen.

    Oh, and to the person that commented in the other thread that JS just assumed he could be lazy, throw crap against the wall and figured it would “work out” is right.

    What I don’t understand is this…even if by the grace of God we lucked out again and won 90 games and a divion with a horrible bullpen, why would we not lose to someone again in the first round?

    As for the Smoltz to the bullpen thing, I am for it. With a healthy Hampton, we could have a very good 5 man with Hampton, Hydson, Ramirez, James and Davies and Smoltz as closer. But Smoltz won’t budge. I hate it, but he won’t.

  14. Dan, this year is lost. I’m sorry, but with the crap we have and all of us know that JS isn’t pulling a rabbit out of his hat this year. It sucks to say, but its time to look at next year. The only way we can get possibly get into this WC race is just what Smoltz said yesterday, we have to go 8-2 to finish up the 1st half. I dont think it will be enough.

  15. Looking on the bright side, the Braves are only 3 games out of 2nd place in the division. It shouldn’t be hard to make that up. You would think. And while they are 9.5 out in the wild card, the teams ahead of them are not particularly good, so with even a modest improvement in the bullpen and offense a 2nd half comeback to make the playoffs is not impossible. But is there really any point to backing into the wildcard so we can lose to Houston in the 1st round again?

  16. with all due respect, and I am an optimist at heart, acting to stay involved in the wild-card race to the detriment of putting ourselves in shape for a good run in 2007 or maybe 2008 is a terrible idea.

    we have to go 59-24 (.711) the rest of the way to win 92 games. Annualized, that is a pace that would go 115-47. With this team, and this hitting, and this bullpen. That is just not going to happen. We could have a great homestand here, go 7-3, and fall further off the pace we need to maintain to win 59 games the rest of the way.

  17. Jered Weaver is a stud prospect w/ a lot of upside to him. Jeff Weaver on the other hand is a bum

  18. I agree with ALEX. R
    There has to be a ( who’s gonna fail next ) attitude in our bullpen! The bullpen has been mirred in a funk coming out of spring training, therefore bringing in a new face via trade or whatever is the only way to go. Everyone knows how much of this game is mental, the pressure has to be crushing! Whether we salvage this season or not, it may be more important to just regain confidence and get back to a winning state of mind. You have to feel like the starting pitchers go in to every game thinking complete game shut-out, batters thinking 3 run homer every at bat, until that mindset changes and everyone feels comfortable with their role and their teamates role’s -we are in for more “same”!! So whether it’s a blockbuster trade or a few minor moves something /anything needs to be done. So i say punt and focus the “post all-star break ” braves.
    Or we can try

    Then bring in yates, paronto, Reitsma in the late innings
    Yeh thata work

  19. I think out side of the Mets, the rest of the NL isn’t even in the top 8 of major league teams. If some team, like the Braves, got hot then maybe we could get the wild card.

    I would rank the teams in baseball like this:
    Chicago WS
    New York Mets
    St. Louis
    San Diego
    Kansas City

  20. I agree with Ron. The goal shouldn’t be simply to make the playoffs. It should be to win the World Series. Granted, once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen, but what is the liklihood that the Braves can improve to the extent that they are competitive with the Cards, Mets or the best of the AL?

  21. 2006 draftee Adam Coe is killing the GCL (albeit in only 7 games). Future 3B of the (distant) future?

    His line thus far:

    .444 / .500 / .852
    27 AB, 12 H, 2 2B, 3 HR
    3 BB, 3 K

    Welcome to wood bats Adam! Guess they weren’t too much trouble for ya.

  22. In order to have a team capable of playing .700 ball the rest of the way, we would have to trade the farm. Even then we would be looking at 92 wins and only a CHANCE to make the playoffs. We are way to far from being a WS contending team right now. It is not worth throwing away 08 and 09 in order to hope for the best this year. I honestly don’t think we’ll do a whole lot the rest of the year. JS may make a couple minor moves to make us competitive but that is all. This offseason has such a weak free agent class and I think we can capitalize on that. I just don’t believe that we will be able to keep Andruw in 2008 and think it would be worth seeing what we could get if he was on the market. I would explore trading him and Giles for stud talent.

  23. I also wonder about whether a rotation of Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Daviess, and James would even be something we can afford. If we traded Andruw and Giles, then I suppose that would be no problem. However, we would have to spend some money on a solid veteran outfielder if we lose Andruw for 2007. I guess all of this depends on what we could get for Andruw and Giles.

  24. Josh Q, I agree and if Smoltz isn’t going to the pen next year we can add Hudson to that list. He definitely isn’t an ace right now. He could bring some very good relievers if not a closer for us.

  25. I’ve got it, its the curse of Dayton Moore. The Royals have won 8 out of their last 10

  26. Trade Hudson and Smoltz for good relief pitchers? Surely that’s a storyline written by O Henry if ever there was one. Next thing you know, Schuerholtz and Cox will have the nickname “Magi”…

  27. Should definitely trade before the deadline: Giles, Thomson.

    Should definitely consider trading before the deadline: Hudson, Andruw.

    Andruw becomes a 10/5 guy in August, so if we’re going to trade him, we have a lot more possibilities if we do it in-season. This would have to be weighed against the potentially greater demand for him in the offseason.

    Hudson’s price goes WAY up next season. Plus, a rotation of Smoltz, Hampton, Ramirez, Davies, and James looks pretty promising at this point.

    We definitely need to trade for and/or sign some legitimate bullpen arms at some point before next Spring. I’m comfortable with McBride, Sosa, Villarreal, and maybe Ray being in this bullpen next year, but I think our goal should be to make sure that those are the worst 3 or 4 pitchers out there.

    I’m apparently in the minority, but I don’t want John Smoltz in the bullpen. He’s FAR too valuable as a starter. And, should we make the playoffs next year, that relative value grows exponentially.

    If we were to trade Thomson, Giles, Hudson and Andruw, I think we could really add some quality to our bullpen, as well as add a couple of legitimate prospects to our high minor league teams.

  28. I hope we don’t trade or fail to sign Andruw. Hopefully he’ll take a little hometown discount and help us out, but he’s worth having on any team. Furthermore, Smoltz, Chipper, and Andruw ARE the Braves as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully Francoeur and McCann will stick around long enough to someday become the face of the franchise, but right now I would care a lot less about the team without those big 3.

  29. Actually, Hudson’s contract doesn’t skyrocket until 2008. He only costs us 6 million next year, so I’ll take back what I said; I now think he’s worth hanging on to.

  30. So do you trade him after 2007? Given his rate of decline, will there be any buyers willing to go on the hook for the $13M in 08 & 09? Maybe. There are some dumb GMs.

    I just can’t imagine us paying Tim what he’s owed in 08 & 09 for what he’s currently producing – payroll issues notwithstanding. Any way you look at it, he’s in decline. He can still be a good 2, I think, but you don’t pay a good 2 that price.

    It might be better to dump him now or in the offseason before it’s painfully obvious to the rest of the league that it’s mainly a salary dump.

  31. I don’t believe that this bullpen has a collective mental problem; it has a talent problem, one that ultimately creates psychological problems for the entire team.

    I actually believe that this club, with any kind of bullpen at all, would have some hope (in ’07, I mean, because this team has little more to bleed). Having an awful bullpen is a condition that transcends numbers. It’s like having a crappy goaltender in hockey or a lousy secondary in the NFL. You can play as well as you want in all the other areas, but without some semblance of a final defense, you’re just waiting for the death blow. How many times do you have to see the same movie?

    Also, unless we’re actually blown away by a cavalcade of genuine minor-league talent, I’m of the opinion that we keep Smoltz & Hudson. Trading Andruw is not something I’d entertain. (I’m not so itchy to have a lousy lineup to match our lousy bullpen.) Again, barring some offer that’s just off-the-charts, I’d go for the glory one more time in ’07.

  32. I don’t really WANT to trade Andruw, but I think it might be the smart thing to do. Certainly, in the short run, it would leave a gaping hole in the line-up.

    However, there is absolutely no chance that we’ll re-sign Andruw after next season, and I would much rather pick up a couple of grade-A, semi-proven prospects than a late-first-round draft pick from the Yankees or Dodgers or whoever ends up overpaying for Andruw.

    Who are the best offensive players in next year’s free agent class, anyway? That would go a long way toward determining whether I’m actually on board with the idea of trading Andruw.

  33. By the way, Jeremy, $6 million for a No. 2 (assuming that’s what Hudson is) is not a bad deal at all in today’s MLB.

  34. Why is there such certainty that we can’t resign Andruw? Yeah, he’s gonna cost more, but hasn’t he been pretty happy in ATL and it seems like he wasn’t too demanding last time. I guess I just don’t see why we’re already ruling out him wanting to stick around. Is that we’re anticipating larger payroll cuts on account of Liberty Media or what?

  35. As much as I love Andruw and will be sad when he goes, I don’t want to tie up double-digit millions of dollars per year (and it will take more than 10 per, I feel certain) in a 30+ year old outfielder who has spent his career crashing and diving into things. Unless we have a 9-figure payroll, anyway.

  36. 2 words: Scott Boras – last time Andruw’s dad talked to him about staying in the org. I dont see that happening, it will require 4/50 to even begin talks probably.

  37. Dan, I was talking about trading Andruw this offseason.

    Stu, If I’m not mistaken, the free agent class this year is Lee form the Brewers and Soriano. After that you’ve got Tori Hunter and a bunch of other schmoes. Andruw would be a big prize for a large market team like the Dodgers or the Angels. Frankly I too would love to keep Andruw, but even a home town discount would be 5 yrs and 75 mil. The Braves simply can’t afford that especially with the escalating contracts of Hudson and Hampton. As a fan I don’t want him to go, but for the long term of the franchise it may be the best decision. The worst thing that could happen would be to lose him and not get anything in return. My hope is that we trade Hudson and Giles for prospects and bullpen help. If we could do this, then maybe and I say MAYBE we could sign Andruw in the offseason.

  38. Andruw’s probably not going to be worth more than the $12.5 million per year his current contract is worth, at most, especially since he’s likely to move to a corner in a couple of years because of accumulating little twinges and the rise of Gregor Blanco. (The last two years of free-agent contracts have shown that teams will pay an average of $1.5M per win. That means Andruw will need to keep up his average since 2002 of 8 wins above replacement per season.)

    Hopefully Schuerholz can spare a little time from his next book signing to talk to Andruw or Boras. If they demand more than JoshQ’s 5/$75M, bon voyage. At csg’s 4/$50M, we have grounds for negotiation.

    As for Hudson and Giles, I’m fine with that if we don’t have to eat too much salary. In Giles’ case, I doubt he’ll attract much, but it’s worth a try. I’m in favor of trading Hudson or Smoltz but not both- I think we need at least one greybeard on the job, doing what McDowell apparently cannot to show the youngsters how it’s done.

  39. gets even worse to remember

    “Smoltz, to contrast, has just five walks in 39 innings since moving to the bullpen.

    “One thing that really is a pleasure to see is a closer come in with good control,” pitching coach Leo Mazzone said.

  40. The ghost of pitching coach past has a lesson.

    “One thing that really is a pleasure to see is a closer come in with good control,” pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. “That’s not to knock anybody else, it just seems like the closer’s role has evolved into somebody who can come in and throw 100 mph and everybody goes ‘Ooh!’ and ‘Aah!’ Nobody knows where the ball is going, you look up and there’s runners on first and second.”

  41. wow, that just makes todays bullpen look like a heeping, steaming pile of crap……not that they didnt already.

  42. Totally agree that we should not trade our 1 and 2 starters. We would have no chance next year without one of them at the top of the rotation. I vote for Hudson to go because of sentimental reasons (don’t want to see smoltz in another uniform) and business reasons. I just don’t believe Hudson will be pitching for us when he’s making 13 mil a year.

    I base my 5/75 contract on the fact that boras is his agent. You just know that he will come to the table wanting an enormous amount of money.

  43. 5/75 is vlad guerrero in his prime money. i don’t think andy will get that. i could see 5/60 maybe (which is still way way too much)

  44. Yeah, it will be hard to keep Andruw with Borris as his agent. Of course, that means Andruw should have a monster year next season.

  45. Kyle, I’m sure Boras will ask for more than $12M per year. Remember, Boras is a very smart negotiator; he’ll ask for somewhat more than he expects to get.

    Josh, we agree again. Smoltz is likely to be cheaper to retain and, I think, more likely to move back to the ‘pen if we need him to. The next question is whether we can/ should trade a second tier starter (Thomson) and whether anyone can stay at the closer’s spot without imploding for a month to be traded for a bucket of balls.

  46. I think Andruw is worth $12mil-ish. If we can at all make that work then we should. It’s not just about his ability, but it’s about him being on of the faces of the Braves too, well, at least it is to me.

    It’s like if the Braves and the Astros traded all their players, all of them, I think I’d be an Astros fan. At least for a while. There is a lot to be said for retaining some players (within reason) because of who they are (besides their ability). (If we made that trade with the Mets I would just kill myself).

  47. CSG #31:

    Jason Shiell looks like an interesting pickup. The Braves drafted him as a starter in ’95, but after he didn’t make it out of class A in five years, let him go and he signed with San Diego. Converted to relief after 2000, he took to it very well and had a 2.78 ERA in Portland in 2002, and got a cup of coffee with SD in September. They let him go, only to see him do even better in Pawtucket in ’03 and get another callup with Boston. (Word of warning: his control failed him during both callups. Just what we didn’t need to hear.)

    This is a potentially uesful guy in the bullpen. God knows we need one. Let’s see if he can handle Richmond first.

  48. Will his contract have anything to do with what Johnny Damon got? He’s what, about 3 years older than Andruw, not half as good defensively, has much less power, and so on. What I mean is, Andruw, IMO, is better than him, and younger. But Damon got 4/52. Granted, it was from the Yankees, but if he got it, that’s his market value. So Andruw would probably want more, especially since they have the same agent. He might not get it, but initial demands or offers can sour things pretty fast.

  49. If Smoltz is with Atlanta next year, he will be in the rotation. Unless he were to come forward and say that is what he wanted to do, then he will start.
    Sure we should trade Thomson if we can get something for him. The problem is that his value is considerably less than it was when the season started. Maybe we could get Dan Kolb for Thomson or a used maybe a used Jock Strap. Whichever one has the most value would be my vote.

  50. Boras is smart and he knows that the yankees and red sox would gladly bid for Andruw’s services.

  51. Yeah, Kolb was a great deal for us. We sure couldn’t use someone like Capellan these days.

  52. That I doubt, Josh- the Red Sox have a bunch of CFs already, led by Wily Mo Pena, hitting 321/370/482 and Coco Crisp (the guy they traded Cleveland for Andy Marte), and the Yankees still have Damon.

    You can only play one guy out there at a time.

  53. But Damon’s arm sucks and he could be moved to RF. Matsui-Andruw-Damon does not seem unlikely to me.

  54. CSG- great idea. I would love to get Jered Weaver for Salty. Jered is an ACE on any team and we would be lucky to get him.

  55. If the yankees signed andruw damon would move to left or right and only play center when andruw bats as the dh. giambi would then have to play a majority of the time at first in order to get matsui and sheffield’s bats into the lineup. I see boras starting the andruw contracts off at 5 years and 65 million. Certainly I believe andruw is easily worth 10 to 15 million a year, but 5 years is much too long to offer him a contract. All of his outstanding plays in centerfield are going to come back to haunt the team that signs andruw long term, lets hope its not the braves. They should trade him in the offseason to maximize their return.

  56. Reading that old Usa Today story just about brought me to tears.

    “In the seventh inning, Atlanta can turn to Steve Reed, the side-arming, groundball specialist. Or Mike Remlinger, just the man to face a dangerous left-handed slugger. Or Rudy Seanez, who can blow away right-handed hitters.
    Steve Karsay usually comes on in the eighth, throwing 95 mph heat. Finally, the Braves hand the ball to John Smoltz, a former 20-game winner who has thrived in the role of ninth-inning closer.”

    Wow..we have absolute bullsh*t in the pen now compared to that.

  57. True dat. Matsui would be RF whenever he comes back.

    Funny thing is, the Yanks are now forced to play Bernie Williams in right sometimes & his arm is wet spaghetti.

  58. Any hopes of competing for the playoffs this year are foolish, in my opinion.

    Even expectations for a 2007 run at the World Series championship are comical unless we’re going to spend some serious free agent money–which we’re not. The farm system is light on talent ready to help next year as well.

    Folks, we are not a good baseball club. Period. There is a reason we’re down with the Royals and Devil Rays of the league.

    It’s time for a tactical retreat to regroup. We need to make smart trades to acquire talent for the next generation of Braves.

    I doubt that Detroit would send us Zumaya for Smoltz, but we should do that if we can (Zumaya’s career for a year and a half of Smoltz sounds great to me). Heck, send Andruw to K.C. to try to pry 3B prospect Alex Gordon loose. Hudson is a #3 truly, so if someone still thinks he’s a good #2 starter or potential Ace, oblige them with a trade. And Giles should already have been gone. Chipper, where would you like to go?

    It’s just time for a reality check. We are NOT going to win the Wild Card. We aren’t even better than the Marlins and they are improving AND ahead of us in the Standings.

    Or else, I’m afraid we’ll be in the same position (actually worse) next year with Smoltz retiring, so no trade value there; Hampton back on the DL; Horatio stinking again (you can’t trust him); Hudson in the mid-4s in ERA; the bats striking out 10 times a game; and the Braves in last again.

    Better to spend the time finding the next Ryan Howard and turning up a Scott Kazmir or two.

  59. I’m going to publish a book titled:

    2006 Atlanta Braves: Why GM’s shouldn’t put their focus on books!

  60. 12 million a year for Andruw Jones is not bad, but didn’t Furcal get 3/39 or 3/40 from the Dodgers? You just know some team will over-pay for him.

  61. Cary=closet Mets’ fan.

    Talking firesale is beyond absurd and laughable at best. John Schuerholz, who unquestionably has his flaws, is not that crazy.

  62. I’m all for keeping Smoltz so that he can go back to the pen to close next year. At his age, that’s the best option for him and the club. Plus, let’s just be honest, he’s a better closer than a starter. Keep him starting this year while he’s at it. If it goes well, great. If not, well, then it won’t really matter anyways.

    As much as I like Salty, I think the best thing the Braves can do is either trade him now for some fo’serious bullpen help, or develop him some more and trade him off later to develop next years club.

  63. By the way, I’m not in the “doom and gloom” camp. I firmly believe this is a good club that just has some issues that need to be resolved.

    The starting pitching is fairly decent. With Hampton and Company back, it would be great. Smoltz is looking good despite the injury. Ramirez is looking good again. Hudson needs to do some work and get past his “one bad inning” stigma, and he’ll do fine. Chuck James could really step up and be a really great starter. There’s good talent there. They just need a bit more run support and a much better bullpen to take over for them.

    The hitting is fine. McCann is looking great, Francour is maturing and improving, Edgar is doing great, Chipper and LaRoche are coming around, Diaz is REALLY improving and looking good. Andrew is not as good as he could be, but is on par for his career. I think he can pull it around. Giles needs some help or needs to be traded, and Terry could work on some different things with the guys, but it’s a good hitting team.

    Defense is very good. Edgar is spearheading that. LaRoche needs someone to talk some sense into him, but other than that, things look great on that front nowadays.

    The only problem is the pen. It’s terrible. If it’s fixed, I think much of our problems are solved. If our starters can leave, knowing there’s a good chance they’ll pick up the W, we’ve got a good club here.

  64. My cousin’s girlfriend overheard a guy in suspenders on the phone in an airport talking about this trade:



    M. Tejada

  65. By the way, the projected starters for the three against the Orioles are:

    Friday: Russ Ortiz v. James
    Saturday: Daniel Cabrera v. Hudson
    Sunday: Unannounced but likely Erik Bedard v. Ramirez

    If we cant take 2 of 3 from that motley crew, we’re bad like the Pirates and Royals are bad.

  66. But wasn’t it his split-finger pitch, which Smoltz has abandoned in the hopes of preserving his elbow, that made him such an effective closer?

  67. Re: Daniel’s comment –

    “I firmly believe this is a good club that just has some issues that need to be resolved.”
    “The only problem is the pen. It’s terrible. If it’s fixed, I think much of our problems are solved.”

    Daniel, I agree for the most part. I really think that we have a pretty decent squad, far from what our record shows. True, the whole team went into a terrible slump there for a while, but I agree that the bullpen is really to blame for all of this. When everyone knows that you probably won’t/can’t hold a lead in the 7th, 8th and 9th, it has to be a mental drain on everyone. Our boys have played their butts off lots of nights (see yesterday) just to see the bullpen throw it away. That’s why a good bullpen is so important to a team. It’s really hard to hide weaknesses. If we have Laroche and Francoeur sucking it up at the plate, oh well, other guys in the lineup can make up for them. If they have a bad at-bat (or entire game), they aren’t really LOSING the game for us, but rather, they are failing to help us WIN. There’s a big difference. However, if one of these clowns we have in the bullpen has a bad day, there goes the game. I know I’m just stating the obvious, but that is what was on my mind.

  68. I think I fall somewhere between my buddy Cary (who, like Mac, I know and he is a Braves fan but he’s a skeptic) and the shiny, happy camp.

    The bullpen – no 2 ways about it. This group sucks. On next year’s team, the only people I might be ok with seeing again are Mcbride against lefties, Death Ray, and Kevin Barry. If Villareal keeps his current work up, possibly him…but that’s it. The rest of the current pen should leave and be replaced by 2 stud arms and a healthy Boyer, amongst others.

    The rotation…Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Davies, Chuck James. That right there is why it’s slly to blow this team up. If that 5 man group is healthy next year, we can win 90-95 Games in a mediocre NL.

    The offense…trade Giles, get a big bopper 1st Baseman who can draw alks and it’s a different lineup. That means of course, Corky LaRoche finally has to leave!

    But this team cannot compete next year if JS doesn’t do his damned job and get relief pitching. No more books, suspenders.

  69. I wonder if the Cubs will send us Lee and Walker and a pitcher for Andruw and Giles

  70. I have to say that over the last 20 games or so, our only real problems have come from the offense, defense, starting pitching and bullpen. Other than that, we’ve been fine.

    I think we’ll get better in all of those areas (can’t get much worse), but the bullpen and hitting are my biggest concerns (is it just me, or has Renteria stepped up his defense over the last few weeks?). I still don’t see too many guys out there that would have an immediate impact on our bullpen, but if we could get a leadoff hitter, I think it would have a big affect on our offense. I’m unwilling to give up on the wildcard right now- as many have said, the NL isn’t very good and who knows what can happen.

  71. The ghost of pitching coach past continues…

    “Braves third baseman Chipper Jones says the pitchers’ post-Mazzone approach is less effective.

    Without Mazzone to point the way, Jones says Braves pitchers are throwing inside too often. Jones says that is a big reason the Braves have given up 92 homers, tied for the fifth-highest total in the NL.

    “Not to bring back the ghost of Leo Mazzone, but the one thing I always agreed with Leo about and the one thing that Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz did better than anybody during the ’90s was they owned the outside corner,” Jones said. “They used the pitch inside to set up the down-and-away strike. And I think that’s what we need to get back to.””

    Mac, this is exactly what you have predicted immediately after Leo left. You are the man.

    If Roger makes HoRam better while the other 11 pitchers gotten worse, that’s not good at all.


  72. The fact that we don’t have to live through another Cormier start for the next four days is a true blessing.

  73. I love Chipper & he may be telling the truth, but with this & the strike-zone comments, he’s whining. I’m glad he won all those years because he certainly sounds frustrated.

  74. I’m really looking forward to the trade deadline this year. I think it will tell us a lot about JS. Yes, we’ve all moaned plenty of times about his “comatose” offseason and track record this season up to this point, but really, he’s never had a July 31 quite like this one. I have accepted that we suck and am now eagerly awaiting the next step. Yard sale? Temporary stupid fixes? Nothing? Should be very interesting. This is keeping me entertained and something approaching mildly happy, so don’t rain on my parade.

    Also, bold prediction: the AL will win the WS. The Mets are the only team really worth anything and Boston outplayed them in every aspect the last 3 games. They looked positively stupid. Since all the AL competition in the postseason will be this good or better, I feel fairly comfortable saying that.

    In another vein, I cannot believe that a) the Florida Marlins are .5 games out of second place, and b) that if they are swept this weekend, Boston will have swept the entire division in the last 2 weeks. How’s that for NL-pathetic?

  75. I don’t care who wins the WS, as long as it’s not the Mets. If they pull an NL playoffs gag-o-rama, that’ll sit just fine. I’ll have plenty of material saved up for that one…

  76. Well, I feel like crap after watching the mets get a beat down. And whats worse….I went to tonight’s game. I walked out of fenway humbled, embarrassed, and depressed. Sucks to lose. I will feel better when the mets beat the skanks. I think we could all be happy for that, mets fan or not.


  77. Hey, the Pirates beat Contreras and the ChiSox. Take that, STUPID AMERCIAN LEAGUE!

  78. Alex R., I know you have an irrational hatred of LaRoche, but he ain’t going anywhere. And I’d like Ramirez someone in this team next year if he keeps it up.

    Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, James and Davies/Ramirez for 2007 sounds good to me.

  79. Thes comments give me great comfort. I think jenny’s comments are the sharpest and deserve rereading. Everybody here shows me what being a true fan is all about. I have been a Greek chorus this spring and I apologize. I am spoiled.

    I want us all to give Mac a gift this holiday! I want to see a 500 post game thread. I urge you to join me, in a sign of faith and hope for the Braves. The adopt-a-player has worked; let’s adopt a team July 4th!

    500! Pass it on! Get the word out to those who’ve cringed away from this team. And ububba, I counting on 25 from you, our best New York scout!

  80. By the way, the dead-armed outfielder always plays LF. The right fielder usually has the strongest arm.

  81. Just trying to catch up with the posts…

    The Yanks will want Andruw. They would play Matsui, Andruw, Damon. Sheffield is a free agent this offseason.

    As for LaRoche, I’ve talked to him and have been trying to convince him to go ask for a trade. He’s too scared to approach Johnny Suspenders. So, it looks like he may man first base for a while. Sorry Alex.

  82. I dont’ know about anyone else, but I am pulling for the Yanks to kill the Mets. (That is for you dany kolb)

    Following teams I never root for:
    Florida Gators
    New York Mets

    Hell, as a Vol fan, I even pull for Bama when the play SEC east teams.

  83. People that say the hitting is fine–what team have you been watching? Obviously not the team that scored 20 runs in the last six games. The hitting sucks–this is a team that strikes out more than anyone in the big leagues, doesn’t take walks, has little power, and gets very few clutch hits. And you are saying the hitting is fine? And the defense? The left side of the infield is like a sieve. Granted, if you had a better bullpen, the record would be a lot better, but this is not a good team.

  84. If the Phillies have their fire-sale that has been discussed, do any of you see us trying to get Gordon from them? Just a thought…

  85. Since the Phillies (like almost everyone else) are what is technically known as ahead of us in the standings, I don’t think the Braves are in any position to be thinking about getting their old guys.

  86. what does Gordon’s contract look like, why wouldn’t we try to get him to build for next year.

  87. I’m a Gator fan Smitty.. :D (akward moments)
    I’ve always rooted for the Gators and Hurricanes. Don’t like FSU though…

    But I’m with you. After Boston’s sweep of the Mets, I’m hoping the Yanks do the same. This is the ONLY time I ever root for the Yanks.. (ugh)

  88. Wake up. “Flash” Gordon is 38 years old with 2 more years guaranteed. The Mets guaranteed 4 to Wagner. The odds that either of those deals (or Pedro Martinez’ deal) will look good after they run their course is very low indeed. Schuerholz didn’t overvalue the scarce resource of closers. The only contract that will probably be o.k. will be B. J. Ryan (and everybody in Atlanta knows the danger in trusting an effective closer for a bad team with the performance of a good team: examples, Reitsma, Kolb)

    Wierd possibility that might make sense. Andruw and LaRoche to Cubs for Derek Lee and Mark Prior (with Cubs to pay part of Prior’s salary and most of it if he doesn’t perform, kind of like performance incentives in reverse). On money, Braves are ahead. We can put Thorman at first and get at least as good of performance as LaRoche at less money. Cubs might still tilt right handed, but not badly. They solve their problem in center (except for the remaining salary of the inept Juan Pierre).

    The REAL problem with this team winning in the postseason that none of you seem to address is the need for a true #1 starter. Smoltz can be that for 6 to 7 innings in the post season if he doesn’t get a further injury (he will throw his arm out knowingly for a ring). Hudson (or even Hampton next year), on a GOOD POST SEASON TEAM, is a #3. Prior may never have it again, but if he does, damn he’s good (as any Braves fan should know).

  89. Actually, you use Derek Lee at 1st if you get him. (duh). He is a better on base, better batting averag, better fielding, better baserunning, and WAY BETTER throwing version of the Crime Dog. He even has the same build and general look. Plus, I love his recent straight comments on the Cubs and their sorriness.

  90. Cliff,

    If we got Lee, Scott Thorman would be no where near first base.

    Prior may be done. His fastball is only hitting 92, that’s not good for a pticher who makes his living high in the strike zone.

  91. I would go for Lee, but Prior? We already have injured starters, guys coming back from injuries, and guys that I suspect really are injured but wont say (Hudson). I would be more willing to take a chance on Kerry Wood and let him audition for the closers roll for the rest of the season. I saw somewhere that he is now tiring quickly after 60 or so pitches, with no obvious injury showing up on MRI’s, etc.

  92. Cliff’s right in that the logic behind acquiring Gordon is the same logic that led us to keep Reitsma and sign Remlinger. Even Schuerholz won’t make that mistake too many times.

    However, Toronto is not a bad team, as claimed by Clff: the Blue Jays are 44-34, five games behind the Red Sox and just one behind the Yankees (and 11 1/2 ahead of us). And Kolb was not a bad signing because he was on a bad team. He was a bad signing because Schuerholz ignored Kolb’s pathetic strikeout rate and severe deterioration in the second half of 2004.

  93. Daniel Cabrera’s stats:

    68IP 60BB 75SO – This guy has given up 12 ER in his last 9.4IP. I’m sure TP is telling our guys to be very aggressive and dont look for walks.

  94. Smitty,
    When it comes to the Mets & that other Orange-clad bunch in Gainesville, you & I think alike. Although I must admit, that when Florida is 7-4 or whatever, I like it when they win their bowl game against the 3rd-place Big 10 team. (And yes, October 28 is circled on my calendar.)

    Kevin Lee,
    Twenty-five posts? I’ll do my best, but it ain’t gonna be tonight or tomorrow. Why?

    This is sad, but you want true NYC baseball sickness? After 3 Braves games this week, I’m going to Mets-Yanks tonight & tomorrow afternoon. (Tix fell in my hands over the winter: Tonight is part of my regular season plan; tomorrow is because my girlfriend wanted to go to a day game.)

    It sounds lame, but I’ve been to so many Mets-Yanks games by now, I’m actually sick of ’em. The only redeeming quality is when you are sitting in a section with a true comedian (representing either side) and he breaks out some gut-busting material. From past experience, I can tell you that Yankee fans tend to have the best sense of humor (Jerry Seinfeld notwithstanding).

    I’ll mostly be observing, but quietly rooting for the NY Melkys.

  95. I can’t root for the Yankees. I just can’t do it. We aren’t going to catch the Mets anyway, so I don’t really see the harm in rooting for them. I never could get as invested in the hate for that side of the city as I could for the Yankees. I would root for anybody against them.

  96. This really will be a test. If the guys that don’t walk don’t have the sense to wait for a strike against someone like this, they just don’t deserve to better themselves.

  97. Brian J.,

    I was not intending to say that Toronto is or even was a bad team. The team that Ryan came from, the Baltimore Orioles, has been and is a bad team. The pressure on a closer for a bad team appears to be substantially less and when they go to a competing team they seem to falter often (our situation with Reitsma and Kolb and several other teams have experienced this.

    Toronto’s pick up of Ryan (at his age and health) may not have been excessive. The Mets will feel only slightly better about Wagner than about Roberto Alomar by the time that contract is up. And Gordon may still be a shutdown closer at 40, but the odds of doing that at 40 are long.

  98. jenny, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just don’t see how you can claim to be a Braves fan first and cheer for the Mets over the Yanks. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  99. Personally I have a hard time rooting for one side over the other. How do you pick between two teams you loathe so much? Is is possible that they could just beat eachother until they bleed. I understand rooting for the Yanks because the Mets are in our division, but I fear I’ll lose my soul if I try that for even one weekend. Same thing with rooting for the Mets. I guess I’ll just ignore the series and enjoy the weather this weekend. Maybe go play some golf and not debate who is more evil.

  100. I see what you’re saying, but I still think that’s not the case. There is no reason to believe that a closer on a good team suffers “pressure” that a closer on a bad team does not. Kolb pitched badly because he was a bad pitcher whose first half of 2004 was a fluke, not because he was in Milwaukee. Reitsma was rin Atlanta for 2004 and 2005 with unimpressive ERAs and pedestrian peripherals; any effect of being on the 2003 Reds should have worn off.

  101. Though I’m a big fan of Delgado and Pedro, I’m hardly a Mets fan. I just don’t relish the idea of the Braves returning to the 100-loss years of my youth. That’s all.

    The best year to be a Braves fan was ’91, in my opinion. It was even better than the World Series year in ’95. The electricity of seeing a young team come together was amazing, and you knew that the future would be bright for many years. Plus it was the only Tied World Series in MLB history–that’s right!! ;-)

    Anyway, our bats are not good enough to support a mediocre starting pitching rotation and our bullpen is plain awful. Not this year. Not next year.

    A rotation of Smoltz-Hudson-Hampton-Davies-James is still going to need a lot of help. Smoltz is a #1 guy, but only for another year. Hudson is a #3, sorry. Hampton is a #4. Davies may be a #3, and James might be a #2/#3. Oh, and Horatio is a #5 for those wishing Smoltz to the ‘pen.

    That makes Smoltz our only above average starting pitcher and while I hope he remains healthy and has enough left for a playoff run after a long season, I think that gambling the future of our organization on that hope is… foolish.

    With the bats, McCann is a plus at Catcher, Renteria is a plus at SS (so far this year at least), and Andruw is a plus in CF, but everyone else is either average (Chipper, Francouer) or below average (LaRoche, Giles, Langerhans). That should be a league average offense, but that wouldn’t be enough with our pitching.

    We’re 5-21 in June. That means it’s more than the bullpen.

  102. Sorry Jenny, but I’m rooting that the Yankees still sweep the Mets. The Braves almost certainly won’t catch them, but I’d still like to see a total collapse from them.

  103. Smitty, if you’re going to blatantly rip from Buster Olney, you should probably give him credit…

  104. You know, one doesn’t have to root for either the Mets or the Yankees. Look at it this way, either way a team you hate loses.

  105. Yeah, I knew what you meant; I was just expressing an opinion.

    Too bad, huh? It’s my experience that most who hate the Yankees are just jealous. Kind of like most who hate the Braves.

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