Game Thread and Planning, Sept. 9, Cubs at Braves

So who from this year’s Braves team will be part of next year’s hopefully relevant Braves team? I’ll just look at the 13 roster spots for hitters for now. We’ll start with the franchise:

1. C Brian McCann

Barring injury, the Braves’ all-star catcher isn’t going anywhere. Two veteran infielders with big contracts are givens:

2. 3B Chipper Jones
3. SS Edgar Renteria

Again, barring injury. Heading into arbitration:

4. 1B Adam LaRoche

How much money has he made for himself in the second half? Two million? I think these are the only givens, or should be. I guess there’s a fifth:

5. RF Jeff Francoeur

Even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The real question about Jeff now isn’t “Is he stupid?” but “Why is he still popular?”

Discuss the other eight spots among yourselves. Diaz everyday? Andruw, Marcus, both, or neither? KJ or Langerhans? Will the Braves let Pena have a chance as the backup catcher? What does Brian Jordan have to do for the team to give up on him? Die? Is Aybar the answer if Marcus goes? Is Pete Orr the Canadian Lockhart or the Canadian Womack? Why do fools fall in love (with rightfielders who hit like backup catchers)?

See you later; I’ll be out until around 8 my time, so behave in my absence.

54 thoughts on “Game Thread and Planning, Sept. 9, Cubs at Braves”

  1. but if I did, I would say the “FIRST” order of business is to declare Diaz one of the everday OF’ers, confront the reality that Frenchy is the other, and hope that AJones is the third. Really, if they hang on to Giles, or acquire some other slugging 2B, that’s a pretty good offense – definitely playoff caliber, with a decent bench of Aybar, Langerhans, and KJ. Assuming they dump the stiffs like Jordan and Orr (dreaming I know), that’s as good an offensive/defensive outfit as anyone else in the NL.

    Now, about that pitching thingy….

  2. I think Spike said it all. Resign Andruw long-term, install Diaz as the everyday LF, and give Giles a year to redeem himself.

    LaRoche made much more than $2 million in the second half; he’ll get at least one long-term contract out of it from someone. Pena deserves to be the backup until Salty is ready. Orr is the Canadian Womack, hopefully with less gullible targets.

    1914 Update:
    Boston Braves 70-54 (–)
    NY Giants 68-55 (1.5 GB)
    Chicago Cubs 69-60 (3.5)
    St. Louis Cardinals 67-62 (5.5)
    Philadelphia Phillies 58-66 (12)
    Pittsburgh Pirates 58-66 (12)
    Brooklyn Robins 56-69 (14.5)
    Cincinnati Reds 56-70 (15)

    Today’s Games:
    Phillies 520 003 000- 10 13 5 WP- Alexander
    Boston 000 101 010 – 3 7 2 LP- Cocreham

    Phillies 000 000 000 – 0 0 1 LP- Tincup
    Boston 020 200 12x – 7 12 2 WP- Davis

    All Hail Iron George Davis! An emergency starter due to accumulating doubleheaders, Davis had started only one previous game this season, a 7-2 loss to the Phillies on July 1st. Today, Davis pitched the Braves’ fourth no-hitter in their 39 years of existence. In the 5th, he walked the bases loaded (3 of his 5 walks today) before striking out C Ed Burns and getting a double play from RF Gavvy Cravath.

  3. McCann, LaRoche, Renteria, C. Jones, Francoeur and A. Jones are locks for next year. None are free agents or anything.

    Pratt will be gone. Brian Jordan should be.

    I don’t really see this team changing much. I doubt they’ll get any new starters, the bullpen may have one or at the most two new faces. Pena will be backup catcher.

    I say they contend easily in 2007. 86-91 wins probably, unless another June-like month happens for no real reason.

  4. i still believe we need a legit leadoff. if we resign andruw, giles, and put diaz in left for good, then we have the same problem we had at the first of last year. aybar might be a good backup, but i dont think he has the speed we should be searching for. smoltz, hudson, james, hampton, and 5th fill-in (ramirez, james, etc..) seem like a decent rotation (if smoltz can last, if hampton can stay healthy, and if hudson can somehow stay consistent). WOW, that is a lot of ifs. resign wickman and baez, clean house in the pen and start over. get rid of thomson, jordan, pratt, langerhans, and reitsma. i dont know how this would work out, but i would like to see diaz get a chance leading off. lineup for 2007:

    would it be crazy to suggest trading laroche after his peak season for an arm or 2 and send chipper to 1st?

  5. No, it’s not crazy, Ryan, if you don’t think LaRoche can repeat his production. However, I think he can, based on his minor-league record, and that therefore trading him away would be a bad idea. For all the talk about how 1B is the easiest position to get great offensive production, this is only the second time since the strike that the Braves have had an above-average 1B, the other being Galarraga in 1998.

    Agreed on the pitching staff. Schuerholz, if a guy didn’t pitch at all in the majors last year, wasn’t injured, and wasn’t still developing, there’s usually a very good reason.

  6. I don’t think they’ll be able to trade Andruw this offseason. If the team struggles next year, he might be willing to waive his no trade to go to a contender. If it comes to that, the Braves should probably do a trade. The way Andruw plays, I’d be worried about him becoming another Griffey whose 30s are full of injuries. Unless Andruw really, really wants to play for the Braves the rest of his career and will take well below market value, the Braves won’t be able to afford to re-sign him anyway.

    McCann is the primary catcher. I have no doubt they will keep Pratt or get some other washed up has been to be the backup catcher instead of Pena. That’s what Bobby likes in that position.

    Laroche, Chipper, and Renteria are givens in the in field.

    If the team has money, they should keep Giles. But if they need to free up cash to re-sign Wickman, go ahead and trade Marcus and try Aybar there next year.

    Jeff Francoeur will be back as the everyday right fielder. He often has dumb at bats and is a frustrating mix of talent and stupidity. He has looked better towards the end of this year. Let’s hope this augurs well for next year because he’s going nowhere.

    The only really hard spot is left field. I’d be inclined to try a Diaz/Thorman platoon with Langerhans as 5th outfielder/ph and Johnson going back to Richmond to prove he can hit.

  7. The real question about Jeff now isn’t “Is he stupid?” but “Why is he still popular?”

    24 HR, 94 RBI, 22 years old.

    I know it doesn’t mean a lot to the stat-minded crowd, but there are a LOT of people out there to whom these kinds of thing are important.

  8. i wouldn’t mind bringing Giles back, but if we’re going to hew to these budget restraints and try to retain Wickman, then Giles may have to go. No problem whatsoever with the outfield situation — no decision needs to be made on Andruw unless/until we fall from contention next year. Out of Francoeur, Diaz, Langy, KJ, and Thorman — well, none of them will be an All-Star next year, but we should be able to cobble together some decent production, and the price is definitely right.

  9. Two triples from LaRoche in one year? Who would have guessed? Too bad it didn’t come last night, I would love to see a Brave hit for the cycle.

  10. There’s no way he couldn’t have got a peice of the bag there, the way his foot came down. Bad call.

  11. oh…

    I was wondering how Adam tripled and Aybar was out at third! …made no sense! gameday should tell us things like that!

  12. I can’t believe the Braves are so bad that they get their runs taken away from them. I’m torn between fury and laughter.

  13. Mac, Adam tripled but Aybar was thrown out at third on appeal. It looked on replay like he touched the inside corner. He did kick up a lot of dirt, so I guess that confused the umpire into thinking he missed it.

  14. I just saw Tony Pena got a hit the first time around. See, his dad was right. He can hit at the major league level! (Or, at least the Cubs think he can. Why walk him there? Why not just go after him, get him out, then face James leading off the next inning?)

  15. Hopefully Adam will get two more chances to bat. I’m totally rooting for a cycle. He already has the hardest two out of the way.

  16. Anyone else thinking it might be time to bring Pena in to catch? The Cubs are running wild on McCann.

  17. Win or lose this game, let’s bring out the Torborg doghouse for his horrible vomit of boring, pointless babbling commentary.

  18. And now 17-10 Troy.

    Steve Spurrier’s boys are getting humbled pretty well by Georgia, 10-0 in the 2nd.

  19. I wish. Stafford just got picked off at the goal line.

    And in case anyone’s interested in baseball, good game for Chuck- 3 runs in 7 innings.

  20. “Interesting” is one word for a tossback from your own 2 yard line. Stupid is another. UGA safety, yet another.

  21. FSU survives 24-17. Giles doubles in Orr, pinch-running for Ward, so Wickman should get the night off since this isn’t a save situation anymore.

  22. I realize the conversation here has switched over to college football, but I’m still fixated on fixing the braves (or at least on seeing where they go next). I think we are going to see quite a few moves, beginning with an offer to Jones (just to test how much Boras will influence Andruw and to see whether he WANTS to play for the braves or whether he want$ to play for the Braves). If Jones spurns the offer, I bet he’s gone. I’m guessing that Giles, too will be gone. Why else would they have gotten Aybar. Aybar’s not here to hold Chipper’s jock (unlike Betemit–though I’m not saying that he deserved such a fate). I’d be willing to bet that LaRoche has played his way onto another team as well. Given our offense, I desperately hope that all three are traded for pitching help. I’m guessing we are going to see a lineup along the lines of:

    2b Aybar
    SS Renteria
    3b Chipper
    C McCann
    RF Francouer
    LF Johnson/ Diaz
    1B Thorman/Jurries/Ward
    CF Langerhans/ Blanco

    The bench will be made up of the backup catcher (another aging veteran), Orr/Prado, and the platoon parts of LF, 1b, and CF. I know it won’t be as good an offensive team, but if we were to get back some good arms, the team might be better.

  23. LaRoche isn’t going anywhere for a while yet. This is only his third year in the majors, so he should not be a free agent for three more years. And I’m naive enough to think we can resign Andruw, although we will need to feel out Boras as you said to ensure that it’ll be worth it.

  24. You know, in a non-Marlins flooded rookie class, James’ 9-3 record would begin to merit him some rookie of the year discussion. Against some of those Marlins rookies, though, a fourth or fifth place showing would be pretty good.

    About LaRoche…I realize that he’s not close to free agency and that he’s been close to McGriff-good since the ADD pills kicked in, but are you seriously convinced that he’s finally going to be a consistently good to great offensive presence? If you are (or rather if the Braves are), then keeping him is the right thing to do. For my part, I need to see a full season of it, from April to October. He’s done this second half thing before only to regress in the Spring. So, if it were me, I’d trade while his value was high. And maybe I’d live to regret it. But I’d hate to go back to next year having turned down offers for good players (a 3rd starter, a true lead off hitter) and see Huckleberry return (though right now, he’s clearly much more like a Crime Puppy!).

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