Minor Concerns

  • The Mississippi Braves will host the 2007 Southern League All-Star Game.  Ominous headline:  “Southern League’s Best to Visit Mississippi.” 
  • Dustin Evans, one of the Braves’ 3 second-round picks in this year’s draft, was called up Rome for an emergency start on the 6th.  In front of a hometown crowd Evans went 6 scoreless innings–allowing just 3 hits and striking out 3. 
  • The Rome Braves are also benefiting from the arrival of Lee Hyde (4th round pick) who has assumed the closer’s role with a save in his first appearance. 
  • Congratulations to Chase Fontaine, who was named Appalachian League player of the week.  Fontaine’s line for last week:  .423, 2HR, 9R, 7RBI 
  • “The Long Road Back” – Joey Devine will make his first start for Myrtle Beach on Friday against Winston-Salem. 
  •  John Sickles has a Braves mid-season prospect report up over at minorleagueball.com.

87 thoughts on “Minor Concerns”

  1. Orel Hershiser just picked us to win the NL Wild Card. You go, Orel!

    I am saying this now – this WC race is still wide open and no one in the National League is unbeatable. If JS wouild just get us a closer, we can compete till the end.

  2. cant tell which board people want to comment on but my quick take on the Reds deal:

    The Nats took them. The Reds were desperate to compete in a wide open NL WC race and desperately needed any relief help and felt they had an excess of hitters, which they do.

    I think Freel is more versatile then Kearns but you get more for Kearns, if you are going to deal a power stud like that.

    Clayton is a huge downgrade from Lopez.

    The bottom line is the deal doesn’t really hurt the Reds per say because the team has a deep resevoir of offense, but it’s a terrible trade and as Cary said, sets a bad precedent and pulls the market for middle relievers way down.

    I didn’t think the Reds could stay in the race unless they get another starting pitcher–the only way they stay is with another starter.

    Re: Ponson

    Oh, yeah, Yankees, let’s just ship the world series trophy to NY now. What a dumba– move. Ponson is a fat idiot and he stinks. The Yankees just think anyone can come in and play. Ridiculous.

  3. The Reds’ current bullpen is doing its best to make the deal with the Nationals look good, or at least necessary. The Reds has a 9-3 lead on the Rockies going into the 9th inning, but Standridge and Guardado surrendered four runs. Guardado struck out Todd Helton as the tying run, and the Reds held on 9-7.

  4. Lee Hyde seems like a winner of a person.

    This spring I saw him stop his car in the middle of a busy Atlanta street, get out and follow a pedestrian, yelling profanities the whole way. The pedestrian looked utterly bewildered and kept walking without even turning around. Hyde continued screaming at the guy for about 50 meters, and then returned to his car, which was still just sitting in the middle of the street.

    Obviously there must be more behind all of this than what I saw, but the incident surely does not reflect well on Hyde.

  5. The Yanks signing of Ponson goes past my eyes without a second glance. The Yankees do this all of the time. They sign every single piece of crap, over the hill, old guy with the hopes that they will turn into Cecil Fielder or Ruben Sierra. Of course, that is as long as the Mets don’t get there first.

  6. Alex, I can’t believe the Reds traded away Lopez…not only that, and they traded away Lopez AND Kearns for Majeski, Clayton, and prospects. I hope the Reds know what they are doing because this seems like a terrible deal for the Reds on paper. Actually, this trade seems like a salary dump for the Reds to me more than bullpen acquisition. I like Lopez a lot, and I wanted JS to trade for Lopez to replace Furcal, but I never thought Lopez would be available.

  7. Also, the much discussed (from the last minor league thread) Kala Ka’aihue has hit 4 home runs thus far for Myrtle Beach, giving him a combined total of 19 HRs and 62 RBI this season. His batting average is in the low .200’s, but that’s only in 20 games…..he hit .329 for Rome in 67 games. He’ll get there….

    I’m also still waiting on the arrival of Jon Mark Owings from the DL, which will give Rome 5 outfielders and seemingly force a move on the roster. Scafer and Romak, the two struggling the most, have both been on a tear lately. I saw where Ovandy Suero (the speed demon) played a game at 2nd recently after the demotion of Brandon Monk, so I thought that might have been the answer, but Rome recently got Santos from Danville to play 2nd, so who knows.

  8. I’d appreciate some info on Liberty Media’s prospects of buying the team. After reading the post in the last thread, I’ve got some questions:
    Is the purchase by this group a good thing or bad thing?
    Is Dobson shooting a broadside for publicity, or is his group a serious threat to the deal?
    Should we care?

    I only ask because I feel an undercurrent of indecison by the Braves’ management that may be due to the pending sale. If J.S. feels his hands are tied, it may kill our team for this season.

  9. I’m all for it! If we cant play WB everyday, then we should look at spinning him off for some bullpen help. Outside of an established closer, Linebrink seems to be one of the best out there…….

  10. flournoy,

    sounds like Hyde is the kind of person you want on the mound for your team in the ninth, but not in the car behind you during rush hour. if he does develope into a big league closer i nominate a Dr. Jekyll cheering section.

  11. Doesn’t Hyde throw in the high 80s/low 90s? He just reminds me of Kenny Rogers, minus 20 years. Doesn’t look like big league closer material to me.

  12. I’m not all that impressed with the farm system. It doesn’t seem like there is much pitching help on the way and there certainly don’t seem to be a lot of power arms. Of course, a lot of the best talent is already in Atlanta, but the system’s reputation for pitching (other than Chuck James apparently) seems overrated.

  13. I’m a big Hershiser fan, and I think his insights and observations are generally spot on. But there is NO WAY the Braves seriously compete for, much less win, the WC. There are too many teams in front, we play the Mets too many times, and we just do not have the pitching makeup this year (nor are we going to bring in enough talent to fix it). That is not to say that JS will throw in the towel, or at least do so obviously; but I’m seriously hoping that any moves are not just short-term patches, because there is no short term purpose.

    That said, there is no reason to tune out the rest of the season. We might get to see some good young players getting some ML experience.

  14. The Reds trade kind of scares me. The Reds despite their position in the standings are not serious playoff contenders. They are more likely to finish under .500 than make the playoffs due to their poor pitching. I worry that the Braves will make similarly dumb moves such as trading Wilson Betemit for some middle reliever. A team that is 9 games under .500 has no business trading away good young players to make a doomed playoff run.

  15. Marc, I used to think the same thing, but when you look at the whole picture we are still developing good arms. The only problem is they are traded away. For example, Zach Miner is from our farm system and would probably be our 3rd starter right now. Chuck James, Lerew, Wainwright, Capellan, these are all pieces of what we have developed, but we are slim now because of trying to keep our STREAK alive. It might be time to let go of Andruw or Hudson in order to rebuild our system w/ solid prospects. Its definitely hard to do that now because of our recent success and possibility of the WC. We cant trade these pieces now, but in the off season we might be able to get a good package for at least one of our veterans. With that said, you are correct that right now our system is bleak…..I still wouldn’t say its overrated, we develop good arms…

  16. Kevin Lee—

    According to Focus on the Family they don’t see themselves as being able to do much about the sale of the Braves to Liberty Media. On an article on their website they encouraged readers to write to commissioner and also the owner of their favorite team in protest, but admitted (from Rocky Mountain News),

    “If he were an unknown entity coming out of nowhere, this might have more effect. But the owners will either summarily dismiss this group’s attempt to create a wedge issue or they already know Malone and have decided” whether they like him.

    So, it seems to me they really are just trying to get to word out. If MLB wants to keep itself looking like a family sport, selling a team to pornographers isn’t the way to go. I’m just sad to see the Braves caught up in all of this. I’ve never like Liberty from the beginning (the whole, “we’ll buy the team for a tax cut then sell it in a couple of years,” thing has always bugged me. I want my team to be owned by someone who will love them as much as I do). This only increases my dislike.

    One more quote (then I’m done):

    Randy Hicks, executive director of the Georgia Family Council, said he doesn’t believe the Malone deal would be in the best interest of baseball or Atlanta.”At a time when Major League Baseball has such a tainted image because of steroids and other recent incidents,” he said, “it doesn’t make sense that they would welcome one of the largest distributors of pornography into the Major League Baseball family.”



  17. The Reds owner made a blood oath to be aggressive in the trade market if the team was anywhere near competitive. They are so he had to make a splash. The Nats got the better deal, but it isn’t as lop-sided as some have said. I have season tix to the Nats and have seen a lot of Majewski over the last year and a half. He’s solid, just what the Reds need. I’ve not seen Bray. Clayton gives them a defensive upgrade, and an offensive downgrade, but the Reds hit well. Freel can play every day now.

  18. I think we are still in the wild card. In years past we have been a great second half team and we were playing well going into the break. The teams ahead of us don’t really scare me. I think if we keep playing this way it will come down to us, Houston, LA and SD. Sure we have to play the Mets, but many of those games will be at the end of the season when they will be resting players. We play the NL East several times towords the end, The Nats, Marlins, Phillies are all teams we should handle. We get a few games with the Rockies. The Dodgers and Padres will beat up on each other. The Cards, Brewers, Stros should do the same. They only thing Houston has on us is that they get to play Pittsburgh and Chicago.

  19. I haven’t seen this mentioned yet, but after this trade, the Nats can put a pretty darn good lineup together, at least until they trade Guillen. An outfield of Soriano, Kearns & Guillen, with an infield of Zimmerman, Lopez, Vidro & Johnson, with Schneider catching is very solid (if somewhat fragile). Great trade by Bowden (not a phrase you have heard much.)

  20. Not really related, but something I’ve wanted to ask, because I saw it again in the minor league report. What the heck is a LOOGY anyway? I’m not familiar with the term. Please help enlighten someone who still thinks RBIs are an important metric.

  21. Painter, LH’r who only comes in to face a LH batter. Typically only good for one out. Someone not named Remlinger!

  22. Mac (or anyone else that follows southern sports), any thoughts on the Finebaum train of thought that the allegations against the Auburn football program are being fueled by Tuscaloosa News sportswriters posting on pro-UAT message boards?

    I do find it funny that Warren St. John came up with the ingenius nickname “wsj” .. looks to me like this is the same camp that had the “Chette Williams pays players” stuff about 18 months ago. Nothing came of that, and yes, it ran in the NY Times too.

  23. I wrote a comment a couple of hours ago and hit “send comment” but it hasn’t come up yet. Anyone have any idea where it it?

  24. I remember seeing that the Rockies almost traded Shealy to us for Reitsma. Any chance we can send them any of our relievers for him. I think he could start at first for us right now. What is everyone’s thoughts on Thorman? He looks pretty solid at the plate.

    Our Lineup could be.

    Giles (Betemit)

    that’s pretty solid

  25. I’m not real sure it would be a great idea to trade Betemit right now for any reliever not named Lidge. This offseason we’re gonna have to fight a budget like always and I think trading Marcus (who may command 5 or 6 mil in arbitration) is the way to go. Betemit would be a great value at 2nd base next year if we have to trade Marcus. I don’t know how JS can avoid trading Marcus. When we add Hampton’s 14+mil to the rotation next year, some changes will have to take place. This has me thinking why we couldn’t try to move Giles in a package for Linebrink and Roberts or something similiar. A deal like this would give us relief help and a lead-off guy for the next couple years.

  26. Just saw Mississippi play the Huntsville Stars last night.

    Even though he got the loss, Chris Waters looked really good. He did give up a two run shot, but it was the sort of cheapie that would have been easily caught in a MLB park. Other than that, not much to see. It was pretty much a pitcher’s duel, as it seems that’s all either Huntsville or Mississippi has to offer. Salty didn’t even play, he sat with the bullpen the whole game. I’m assuming he just had the day off. I’m going back either tonight or tommorrow night to see the same two teams, I’ll let you guys know if he’s in the lineup.

  27. Its just a sad day for all of you Auburn fans. I’m just glad Tuberville knew nothing about what the professor was doing for the athletes. Maybe they should take back that National Title, oh wait nevermind!!!

  28. JoshQ said:

    I’m not real sure it would be a great idea to trade Betemit right now for any reliever not named Lidge.

    I say:

    Damn right. How much anyone want to bet the second that Linebrink goes to Atlanta if that trade happens, he’ll stink?

  29. Daniel,

    Thanks for the game report. Waters has been pretty solid this season except for his HR allowed — he leads the league with 16. If he could cut that back and walk a few less guys he’d see a real drop in his ERA. As for Salty, he’s on the DL with blisters on his hand. He could come back any time now, but I hope he waits until he’s really healthy so he can rebound offensively.

  30. bmac, no one in that lineup can play CF. That’s a good lineup, but one of those OFs will have to sit for Ryan Church or Marlon Byrd.

    Getting Shealy from the Rox is going to be very expensive. He’s the man Colorado envisions at 1B instead of Helton, and they’d much rather move Helton- whose contract no one wants any part of.

    Thorman = a more mobile LaRoche. Not bad, but not someone we build around.

  31. Sorry to keep lacing this thread with Auburn stuff, but you guys have to check out that link.

  32. Ahh, thanks, I appreciate that. I figured a LOOGY was a lefty reliever, but wasn’t exactly sure what the initials stood for. Thanks for the knowledge.

  33. Chris Hammond and his 6.91 ERA has cleared wavers. I hope JS doesn’t have his phone number.

  34. All SEC teams cheat somehow, here in Tennessee we just know how to bend the rules and not break them.

  35. Actually, at Tennessee you’ve mastered the ability to go “state’s evidence” and get the NCAA to let you get away with stuff as long as you provide evidence on other programs.

  36. I thought Salty had bone bruises… but anyway… he’s should be back soon and I hope it’s soon and he can get things turned around… Mississippi is struggling lately…

    I don’t know what happend to Canizares the other night… he left the game and then he didn’t play last night… Arteaga played 1B since Rosamond’s wife had a baby and he’s been gone… there wasn’t a first baseman last night!

    Blauser said they were trying to be more aggressive on the bases and they are… they’re getting thrown out too! but there isn’t a lot of power in the lineup either!

  37. Fulmer is a good coach and a great recruiter, but I am convinced that he is paraniod that some young coach will show him up and take his job like he did with Johnny Majors. Fulmer micro manages too much and needs to bring in guys who know what they are doing. NFL teams often complain that Tennessee guys have a world of talent, but don’t have fundmentals. Randy Sanders was a terrible QB coach and Fulmer really held him back with the play calling. It killed Sanders. Troop Taylor is a good coach and was moved to wide outs (replacing the worst coach ever, Pat Washington). I have no idea why Fulmer brought in Jimmy Ray Stephens from Florida. Spurrier would have fired him, if he hadn’t left for the NFL. Fulmer should coach the O-line and let the rest of the coaches do their jobs. I think no that Cutcliff is there, that will help. He will let him run the offense like he lets Chavis run the D.

  38. On that whole turning in Bama thing, Spurrier also told on them and testified. I guess everyone hated him already. Hearing about all that gets old. Alabama broke the rules and got caught. If Tennessee get nailed one day and someone tells on us, I will say, “We were wrong, we suck.” I won’t go yelling at the people who told on us.

  39. Oh, and forget about the NCAA, it’s SACS that Auburn has to be worried about. As in, “no football, because there’s no school anymore”. The SACS people are professionals, and they are not likely to be amused.

  40. Spurrier was involved in some matter, it may have not been Means. I don’t think we had a booster paying this guy money and we backed out when we heard about it. If Alabama were Southern Miss, they might have gotten the Death Penalty. I don’t like Alabama, but I always hope they are good. I think a strong Alabama is good for the SEC.
    After we won the title in 98, everyone came after us hard core and couldn’t proove anything, not even ESPN. Is UT clean, by no mean. No SEC school is.

  41. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves weren’t willing to discuss sending Andruw to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and Brian Anderson. I think I’d discuss it, but I’d want more. Though checking Anderson’s stats, they don’t match the impression of him I had as a good prospect.


  42. In about 10 days, we’ll know whether we should entertain the idea of trading Andruw. If I’m not mistaken he’ll be a 10/5 guy after the season so it would not surprise me if the Braves look into it. Especially if they feel they may not be able to sign him to an extension in the offseason. I would think the last thing we would want is for us to be trying to move him next year because we can’t sign him and then have to take a lesser package or nothing at all because he doesn’t want to move.

  43. Anderson can’t hit. He’s awful. He walks a little and has a little power, but there’s not enough secondary skills in the world to make up for a .192 BA.

  44. No doubt it would take more than McCarthy and Anderson. The Braves would have to ask about Fields and/or Owens as well. Maybe even Jenks. Bottom Line, it would take at least 3 high level prospects to start talking.

  45. I know somebody out there knows more than I do, but Andruw vests 10/5 somewhere around 8/15.

    A lot of the analysis on Giles here forgets that he is a big money man at the end of this year. IF you don’t KNOW you will keep him, you are only swapping 60 games for whatever you get back. He is from SoCal and the Padres seem like a fit that way.

    Langerhans would be an upgrade over Anderson for the White Sox at this point.

  46. I would give Giles for Roberts and Linebrink. Throw Orr or Langy in that package too.

  47. True, it would be hard to give them Betemit, esp. w/ Chip’s foot problems. Is Linebrink or Roberts FA’s after this year?

  48. Announcement:

    I have some of this useless sports knowledge that I am trying to use to make money. I talked with an editor at the Sporting News and he told me to start a blog at TSN and send him the link. He said he will start reading it and that if it is good it MIGHT turn into something more. It is a long shot, but it takes little time for me to do and if it pays off then great, if not, oh well. I just thought I’d pass the good word along and if you have any good ideas let me know.

    Here is the link:


  49. Linebrink and Roberts are signed thru next year. Linebrink has a club option for 2007 for 1.75 while I think Roberts is only signed for the rest of the year. Although his 2006 contract is for only 2.25mil so it’s not like he’s gonna break the bank.

  50. Obviously I wrote that first sentence before double checking to see if I was right.

  51. I loathe the people attacking Liberty Media, but for once I hope they succeed in scuttling the deal. There is no reason to believe that Liberty Media would maintain the team so that it can succeed.

  52. I doubt they would try to cut payroll if they are only wanting to own this team for two years. I think they understand what it takes to put people in the seats. Or at least I’m wishful thinking…I would rather have Blank or wouldn’t it be funny to see Cuban running out on the field and kicking dirt at the umpires!

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