Where Do We Go From Here? 2006.2: Hudson and Hampton

Two pitchers who are getting paid like stars but who can’t be expected for more than journeyman work. Let’s start with Tim Hudson.
















These are not good trends. Remember, while he held steady in ERA in 2005, his run context changed dramatically; his ERA+ went from 158 to 133. The increase in his strikeout rate is basically the only positive to take from Hudson’s 2006. His walks were up and he set a career high in home runs allowed, a very disturbing pairing. That being said, his ERA probably “should be” lower, in the low fours; he had a lot of bad luck to go with bad pitching.

The Braves are likely to shop Hudson; the chances of finding a taker who will accept his whole contract without the Braves including something of real value are very low indeed. His salary for 2007 is pretty reasonable, but it rises appreciably in 2008-09. I don’t expect him to go anywhere right now. If he gets off to a decent start and the Braves fall out of contention, he could be dealt in July.


10 percent: Traded this offseason
30 percent: Plays entire 2007 season with team
20 percent: Misses time with minor injuries
20 percent: Misses significant portion of 2007 season with major injury requiring surgery
20 percent: Traded during the season, probably to the Yankees

Tommy John patients have a tendency to struggle with their control during their first season back while often adding velocity. I’m not a believer in the sort of stories I read about Hampton having great stuff in a simulated game, but there’s a good chance that it will be true.

Part of the problem, however, is that when Hampton seemed to be turning the corner in 2005, he did it largely by cutting way down on his walks. If he has to learn to control his pitches again, it could be a long season. One good thing is that Hampton actually could have come back right about now, so he has several months of extra training he can do. He may get the wildness out of his system now and be ready next season.


10 percent: Doesn’t pitch at all or only minimally due to lingering health issues
45 percent: In and out of the rotation, pitching league-average baseball
20 percent: Spends most of the season in the rotation pitching league-average baseball
10 percent: Starts the season well but hurts his arm again
10 percent: Spends most of the season in the rotation pitching well
5 percent: Starts off well and the Braves find a way to deal him in July or August

I should point out that Hampton will be a 10-and-5 man after the season.

109 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2006.2: Hudson and Hampton”

  1. Wow…Hampton is coming up on 4 years in Atlanta. Time flies when you are injured, I guess…

  2. I must admit that I root hard for Hudson. Nobody wants him to be better than me, but I also admit that he’s been disappointing.

    Game 1 vs. Houston last year was not the kind of performance I had in mind when we got him. I was thinking Smoltz was 1 & Hudson was 1a. We know who #1 is now. (FWIW, that game saw me break my 15-year abstinence from Jagermeister, which I found that they sold in the Turner Field Lexus Level. That game started bad & got out of control.)

    In my mind, the best-case scenario is Hudson & Hampton being overpaid #3 & #4 guys, after Smoltz and James. (Davies? HoRam? Who the hell knows?) We have a lotta rotation “ifs” coming into ’07, but I am encouraged by the upside. I do believe we’ll score runs & I do believe the rotation will be better. I just hope our bullpen can approach decent. It’s just way too demoralizing when it doesn’t.

  3. I have a hard time believing that Hudson is washed up. I just have this gut feeling that we’ll trade him for all but nothing and then he will win the Cy next year. Maybe I’m just cynical, but a season like this past one will do this to you.

  4. The biggest if is did Tom Glavine really say he’d retire as a Brave no matter what and no matter what the salary, and if he did, did he really mean it?

  5. I heard on Cold Pizza that Freddy Gonzo might be the next Marlins manager. I also read in the paper that game two of the Mets-Dodgers will be Glavine vs. Maddux.

  6. Strange that Glavine is Facing Maddux in the playoffs and neither is in a Braves Uniform.

    Hudson, only trade him if someone takes the full salary, never pay for someone who is not on your roster, the Mets, Yankees and BoSox can afford that, not the Brave

  7. I think that we are stuck with both of them. We have to hope that we can get slightly above league average from them next season. I’m not hopeful but I guess its a hangover from a tough season. At least on paper based on their resumes both Hudson and Hampton make pretty good #2 #3 starters. Our only hope is that Hampton can recover from the lay off and that Hudson’s 2006 was an outlier season and not a trend.

  8. Is CHipper’s dad going to be our new hitting coach? A great way to keep Andruw cheap would be to let his dad coach third base. That would get him to stay cheap.

  9. I also remember hearing a rumor about Bullpen coach bobby dews. But I can’t remember what the rumor was or where I heard it.

  10. The rumor is that Dews will no longer be bullpen coach and will be succeeded by Eddie Perez. I’m at least 90% confident that this will happen.

  11. I say we get two or 3 batting coaches and let them work w/ whoever. Also we need another pitching coach along w/ McDowell. I like the fact that Eddie P is still around and not playing. I wouldnt be surprised to see Brian J doing that also. Maybe McCann’s dad can be the hitting coach.

    I think Hudson will return to the Era range of 3.75 to 4.00 and Hampton will be around 4 also. If we can get a good 3,4, or 5th starter for Giles, our rotation should be above average. Then again, if we can trade either one, do so.

  12. “Maddux’s last 4 starts: 25 IP, 8 ER, 18 H, 4 BB, 13 K, 2.88 ERA”

    Yeah, yeah. But it’s still only four starts. I’m sure any pitcher, no matter how much they’re declining or bad, can have good streaks. If you brought Phil Niekro out of retirement, he’d probably have a good two or three games somewhere during a full season. Does anyone believe Maddux will go 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA like he did in 1995 ever again?

    The rumor is Bobby Dews will retire or be moved to a different position and Eddie Perez will become the new bullpen coach.

  13. We are probably stuck with H &H. But they might be ok as 4th and 5th starters. The key is not whether they can trade Hudson (though they should try) but picking up at least one more quality starter. That is, a #1 or #2 starter. This is easier said than done, so we very well may have Smoltz, H & H, HoRam and James.

    I agree with KC’s earlier posting: the Braves have a fair number of 4 and 5 starters, whcih is where H & H belong.

    Kyle Davies, a player that I really root for, needs to spend as much time as necessary at Richmond to master his command. At this point, he might as well be just another prospect.

  14. You’re normally among the more reasonable posters here, ububba, but that’s just an absurd implication.

    I’m guessing something like 27-10, UT.

  15. Bear in mind that even if Hampton comes back with league-average pitching this coming year, he’ll be replacing the combined efforts of Thomson and Sosa in the rotation, so that makes for an automatic improvement.

    Of course, we’re due for dropoffs in the hitting department, but the pitching is due for a decent rebound just from random luck, and the team as a whole has a pythag that suggests we underperformed overall this year by about 6 wins.

  16. Stu,

    There’s no chance this game will be a genuine blowout. We’ll have trouble scoring, but so will UT. Eveyone talks about UGA’s QB troubles and they’re real, but nobody’s talking about our defense. It’s pretty good.

    If the Vols can run & keep Quentin Moses from terrorizing Ainge, they should win. I just don’t see that happening a lot. I think it’ll be a low-scoring affair in the teens.

    If the final won’t be another 41-14 result, I’ll take another 14-13 win, but I like 18-13 better.

    FWIW, in the last 6 UGA-UT games, UT (1-5 in that span) has scored 84 points. That works out to exactly 14 per game.

  17. Did anyone mention the stomping we gave Vt this weekend?
    feels go to be a ramblin wreck this year!
    and Matt Wieters this spring :)

  18. someone just emailed this to me…

    Top 5 Reports for 06:
    1. Giants pass on Bonds but signs his trainer
    2. Yankees overcome injuries and $200 mill payroll to win division again
    3. Marlins turn in air travel for new high school team bus
    4. 25 man bullpen still not enough for Reds to make it to the Playoffs
    5. Braves Report: No Drop in Playoff ticket sales

  19. I mention the VT stomping to Jay everday. He then counters that Miami beat Houston by only 1, which is basically as bad as losing…

  20. I don’t believe that UGA can win this weekend. I dont even care how good their defense is, UGA would have lost its last two games if the opponents offense was any good. Tennessee’s offense is good and their defense isnt bad either.

    Most importantly in my mind though is that whoever plays QB for UGA will be both inexperienced and inadequate against a strong team like Tennessee. I see this being the beginning of a looong SEC season for the Dawgs.

    Don’t hate me, just saying what I see.

  21. Gotta admit, I was very surprised to see that Hampton becomes 10/5 after next yr. Hard to believe he’s been with the Braves that long. Looking back, he was part of that All-M starting rotation that never happened (Maddux, Millwood, Mike Hampton, Marquis, Moss).

    About Dews: He’ll most likely stick around, just in a different position. I can’t imagine him retiring. I mean, just this past year, he’s like 67 years old and still putting on the gear and warming pitchers up. I don’t know much about him, but I get the feeling that he’d be pretty cool to hang around with for a while.

  22. UGA’s defense didn’t look all that great until the end of the game the other night, and Ole Miss is terrible! The Rebs were running at will on the Dawgs. If Tennessee can run the ball like that, it won’t be close. Tennessee’s biggest problem on offense has been running the ball, if they can do it, it will be a long day.

    If I were Georgia, I would stack the box and double Meacham and Swain and make Ainge throw to the middle of the field.

  23. Dix,

    That may well be, but under the Richt Regime, he’s got us believing that if we give up 14, we’ll score 15. It’s not a feeling we’ve had since Vince Dooley ran the show & that was a pretty good run.

  24. Smitty,

    When Ole Miss had to make a play on offense, they made exactly one (and it was a broken play down 14-3). There was never a moment in the game where I didn’t think we’d win. Win ugly, but win.

  25. Back despite popular demand, the indefatigable

    1914 Update:

    Boston Braves 90-57 (Clinched)
    NY Giants 81-68 (10 GB)
    St. Louis Cardinals 79-69 (11.5)
    Chicago Cubs 75-74 (16)
    Philadelphia Phillies 73-76 (18)
    Brooklyn Robins 72-76 (18.5)
    Pittsburgh Pirates 66-83 (25)
    Cincinnati Reds 58-91 (33)

    Today’s Game:
    Braves 201 000 020 – 6 8 6 LP- Cocreham
    Giants 120 300 41x- 11 9 1 WP- Tesreau

    Six errors by the Braves. Oh well. Let the fools have their tartar sauce, to quote Montgomery Burns.

  26. I decided to wait till the season was over before returning. I was getting seriously depressed in here. I am was thrilled to see us end on a high note, but this was a tough season to watch and especially blog about.

    My review for the offseason:


    1. If we can’t trade Hudson (and I am sorry, I don’t buy the Yankees or Sox being that dumb) nor Hampton (same teams, though since he has no stats ofr 2006, we might get the Red Sox involved) , then they will be in the rotation, along with Smoltz and Chuckie James for 2007. Again, ANY return to form by both starters and the Braves are easily a serious contender again.

    The question remains the 5th spot between Davies and Horam or even Cormier–it’s not pretty.


    2. The Braves have to add two relievers…a set up man for Wickman and a strong lefty so McBride can becomea Loogy like he should be.

    I don’t love the rest of this group but I could even see keeping Yates and Paronto but in far LESSER roles.


    3. Mac sad, only trade Andruw if it’s a big time package. Yes, the Red Sox are the logical team financially and they also have a deep young package of kids they can offer.

    Personally, if Andruw wants to keep playing here, great, but if we can get a package of studs, I am all for it at this point. We may have one shot left to contend for the Playoffs in 2007, but after that, the team will be turned over dramatically by virtue of the fact that this will be Cox, Smoltz & Wickman’s LAST season and I feel 100% sure on that.

    I feel even stronger we should try and deal Marcus (to San Digo for say Linebrink?) and I also think Aybar can have a breakout year in the leadoff spot in 2007.

    The one really nice thing that came out of this year that LaRoche, if he takes his meds, can hit like a stud. I couldn’t say anything negative about the guy for 4 months. But he needs to take his ADD meds for sure.

  27. From the DOB (The last line is a real killer. Didn’t we refuse to do that with Mazzone?)

    Coaching changes are probably going to be announced in a day or, with Eddie Perez replacing Bobby Dews as bullpen coach. Third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez is expected to take the Florida job, unless some other team (Giants, Nats) promises him the moon and he decides to wait a while and drive up the price.

    But I think the Marlins are moving quickly. Like this week.

    Also, bench coach Pat Corrales is expected to step down. Braves would promote from within to replace Gonzalez and Corrales, from what I’m told. Don’t know who the minor league coaches or managers being promoted would be, but wouldn’t surprise me if Jeff Blauser is in the mix after a year managing Double-A Mississippi.

    Some have asked about Dews. It was his idea to step down from the bullpen job, only because he’s 67 and the wear and tear of squatting and warming up pitchers has finally started to catch up with him. He’ll move into some sort of special-assistant or advisory role and be at spring training and home games, from what I understand.

    Gonna miss Dewsy and Corrales in the clubhouse, that’s for sure. Both really, really good guys. Dewsy’s a prince, both a grizzled baseball lifer and a writer of poetry and short stories. Corrales is as cranky as me on a bad day. God, I’m gonna miss him.

    In case you’re wondering, Terry Pendleton will be back unless some team makes him a managerial job offer he can’t refuse, and pitching coach Roger McDowell will definitely be back. Though it was never announced when he signed with the Braves nearly a year ago, McDowell actually got a two-year contract, not a one-year deal like the rest of the coaches.

    (I hope that wasn’t too long to quote here, but it was all from DOB on his blog: http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/braves/entries/2006/10/02/no_joy_in_mudvi.html )

  28. The good news for the season is twofold for me
    Adam LaRoche and BRIAN MCCANN

    can’t say enough about that kid..hope he doesn’t stagnate
    wow look at the offence we got from C and CF. sucks we couldn’t do mroe with it

  29. Thanks for the DOB link, ‘Rissa. Another interesting fact he revealed was that payroll will stay the same or increase a smidge, no matter who owns the team next year. Good news for sure.

    Re: the Dawgs. If the real Musa Muhammed returns we will beat the Vols. Frankly our receiving core has been awful and due for a big game. I just don’t see us being the 89th ranked offense in the country for much longer. Guess we’ll see on Saturday.

  30. Parish, I think there’s some chance Hampton comes back strong, but it’s maybe one in ten. Frankly, I was wondering if I was too optimistic.

    I don’t know what’s going on with the avatars. Frankly, I don’t know why they’re there at all, but I haven’t changed anything.

  31. I also wanted to say thanks Mac on doing a great job with this site. I would imiagine that our political views are about as opposite as possible, but it’s good to have common ground with the Braves. As someone who used to stay up as a kid with my Dad and listened to the Braves over a crackling radio connection (in the mid 70’s), you have to trust me when I say it could be a lot worse.

    IMO, this synopsis is exactly why the Braves need one more dependable starter. HoRam and Davies look to be injury prone, and Hudson and Hampton are anything but sure things. I have a feeling that we’ll go with a young gun, and I still wouldn’t be surprised to see us make an international signing.

    Btw Mac. Is there a place that I can send you a private message and ask you a few questions about Hudson and Hampton?

  32. Even if Ramirez and Davies are injury prone, we have six starters if we keep all of them. Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Ramirez, James, and Davies. Even if one goes down, we can pencil in another. And if we’re as unfortunate as this year with so many injuries, we still have Cormier and the Vulture who can spot start. I know that’s scary, but a lot of teams don’t have that luxury.

    I think based on the quality of the pitching in the NL (shoot, the quality of teams period), our rotation will be above average. I’m already excited about next season. I see our rotation being pretty good. I see Ramirez becoming more consistent, Davies can’t suck this bad again (right? right? RIGHT?), Hudson, based on his K rate increasing I think he can be solid, and James and Smoltz being James and Smoltz. I also think that Hampton, based on his stats before his injuries, will be very solid. I have to disagree with Mac on this. He’s already pitching to live hitters in October. He has 6 months to get control over his pitches, and you know he’s going to be working out his core and arm to be able to come back at game shape and speed.

    Didn’t our offense lead the league in runs scored? We’re gonna knock the crap out of the baseball. That’s a given. Our rotation will be better, almost by default. It just has to. We have Wickman at the back end and I firmly believe if we pull a 2002 and just go and grab arms over arms over arms, we will strike gold in the bullpen with the Holmes, Hammonds, Remlingers, Ligtenbergs, Gryboskis, and Spoonebargers of the world who need a new role, are coming back from injury, or just haven’t been seen.

    I’m optimistic. Great offense. Good rotation. Good bullpen. Bad NL. No Pedro. We can do it.

  33. Rob, I think there’s a better chance of Hampton pushing the team forward in 2007 than Hudson, but a better chance of Hudson pitching the full season. There’s no substitute for live pitching, and Hampton won’t really pitch in a competitive game until February.

  34. urlhix,

    I’m assuming you were referring to Mohamed Massaquoi. You know, Richt didn’t even start him for the USC game. I’m hoping he makes some of the big plays he’s capable of. And yes, the receivers have shown some remarkable butterfingers so far.

    Stafford has had his uneven moments, but he’s also had several balls go through hands, especially in the USC game.

    If we’re gonna beat UT, everyone’s gotta be better on that side of the ball. Have faith—we’ll find a way.

  35. Mac, there’s definitely no substitute for live pitching. I’m talking about him being able to hold up physically for a full season. It’s not like he’s coming back immediately to competitive major league baseball from Tommy John surgery. He’s coming back right now. He’s got 6 months to prepare his body and more specifically his elbow and arm for a full season. Not every Tommy John returner has that opportunity. That’s why his case is different. He’s gonna have more than enough time to return, and if he’s smart, he’ll utilize it.

    Just like with Hudson. If he takes this opportunity to switch his workout like he said and get himself prepared physically so he can throw 93 instead of 91 like he said, his walks could decrease, he could get the ball down resulting in less home runs, his strike out rate could continue to increase like it has two years in a row. Is he going to be Oakland Tim? Probably not. Could he be 2004/2005 Tim? I think so.

  36. Ububba,

    Yes, Massaquoi, thanks. Don’t know what I was thinking there. I’d just gotten back from some firefighter training and was still pretty fried mentally, I guess. I do like our chances, though. Especially if we actually score in the first half for a change. Plus, you gotta figure Richt has saved something special for this game.

  37. Maybe Bret Favre can come pitch for us. He still has some heat, but no clue where he is throwing it. That is more than Yates can say

  38. Get rid of Terry Pendleton – let him further screw up the Nationals!

    Bring back Don Baylor for hitting coach!!

  39. Well since this “season” is finally over I decided to do a little post at my blog about why this season was sucked so bad….from my perspective….enjoy, i guess :(


    *warning* don’t scroll down and read my recap of the VT and GT game….veiwer descretion is advised…

  40. Talking to a friend about Michael Nix – relief pitcher who put up pretty good numbers for the Braves in A-ball.

    ETA of 2009 sound accurate?

  41. I have not been a fan of TP as a hitting coach from the first few months he’s been here, but I can’t argue with the results this year. Braves hitters generally were not patient enough (even without Frenchy), but they produced.

    Even though I don’t blame McDowell for the Braves’ horrible pitching, I’m still scratching my head a year later on why he was hired. When you have a successful system like the Braves have had for 14 years, you hire from within. This provides consistency and gives top performers something to work towards. I can only speculate that the best coaches already left, but It still doesn’t make sense to me.

  42. According to AJC:

    “The Braves say rebuilding the pitching staff is their top offseason priority, and Cox said there’ll be competition for bullpen jobs. Only three — closer Bob Wickman, Tyler Yates, left-hander Macay McBride — seem like certainties.”

    “I think we’ve got three solid guys there and some other guys to push them,” said Cox, who was encouraged by bullpen improvement after the July 20 trade for Wickman.

    There you go, we will see more Tyler Yates in 2007…awesome…

  43. Tyler Yates is a certainty? Solid? It’s OK to lie to the fans, Bobby, but please don’t lie to yourself.

  44. A lot of playoff baseball today:

    A’s-Twins at 1:00 EST
    Padres-Cardinals at 4:00 EST
    Tigers-Yankees at 8:00 EST

    Hard to get too excited with the Braves in it. But I can still have a good time rooting against the New York Mets.

  45. ububba,

    Sorry for the really long delay in responding.

    Georgia hasn’t played anyone yet. I agree that it’s a fairly potent defense on paper, but again, they’ve been tested by no talent. Colorado (Colorado!) scored 13 and should have scored more…you really don’t think UT will score 14?

    Yeah, UT’s had some serious running issues this year…but I think they can rush for no yards and still win this weekend.

    I like Richt and I understand that UGA fans want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think realistic observers would note that Georgia (no QB, incredibly inconsistent WRs — which should sound pretty familiar to a UT fan) just isn’t that good this year.

    For all the talk about “finding a way to win,” again, you’ve played Western Kentucky, UAB, Colorado, and Ole Miss. Nobody at all. Tennessee’s played Cal (hardly #9 in the country, but still quite good), Air Force (probably better than any of Georgia’s opponents to date), Florida (a very, very good team, who won by one because they actually have an offense), and Memphis (your average UGA opponent).

    UGA might win…but I don’t think anything we’ve seen this season should lead anyone to think that’s anything more than a remote possibility.

  46. I’m stunned by the post #57 by Rob Cope. While Rob always offers an informed opinion, I sincerely hope that the Braves front office people do not see the pitching the way Rob portrays them!
    While what goes up always comes down; the reverse is seldom true.
    Next you’ll be telling me that Yates is solid for next year!

  47. Dunno if UT can win with zero rushing yards but I get your point Stu. The fact that UGA has had to ‘find a way to win’ games against mediocre opponents is a testament to the problems the Dawgs are experiencing. Those teams should be summarily dominated, and the find a way to win games are those tough road battles and games against superior opponents at home. Look at Auburn and to a lesser extent Florida. They’ve handled the easy games with no problems, and ‘found a way to win’ the tough ones (LSU and UT games respectively). That all leads me to believe that when UF or UT plays UGA, its going to be UT and UF that find a way to win, if not dominate.

  48. Someone commented that “Andruw wants to get paid.” I didn’t realize that getting paid $12 million was playing for charity. I guess it’s hard to make ends meet on $12 million.

    I hope they don’t trade Andruw; they won’t get enough for him anyway (unless they trade for prospects) and they can’t replace him. Let him play it out and see what happens. If they are struggling at the break, then you can trade him.

    I actually think Hudson has a better chance of rebounding that does Hampton. At his best, Hampton has been a no. 3 for the last several years; few strikeouts, lots of walks. He’s ok, but not ace-type material anymore and I can’t see him immediately jumping right in and being solid.

  49. Rob, I like you a lot, but weren’t you the one talking about how great Reitsma would be? Then in that same thread Reitsma came in and on the first or second pitch gave up a home run to Cliff Floyd? Maybe it was someone else.

  50. I’m in the I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with-Andruw boat. My thinking is that I wouldn’t take anything less than 2 top-end pitching prospects for him in a trade, and if someone offers that, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Obviously, there’s a pretty narrow range there.

    I don’t want to lose a force like Andruw for nothing; at the same time, I’m terrified that his body is about to break down, and I don’t want to sign him to an extension (however cut-rate it might be, it’s still going to be double digits of millions per year, and on this budget, that’s A LOT of money), only to have him fall apart soon thereafter.

    There’s also, of course, the concern about who in the world we would replace Andruw with in the clean-up spot and in CF. The offense that everyone expects to be so potent next year (and barring injury, I tend to agree) would take a pretty big hit with a Langerhans-for-Andruw swap.

    Does anyone think the Cubs might have any interest in an Andruw-for-Zambrano deal (likely with other players involved from both organizations)? It makes some sense to me, although I expect the Cubs would want to build around Big Z.

  51. quote from it…

    “That’s for certain,” he said. “There are not going to be any changes — certainly not downward. There’s always a chance we could squeeze out a few more dollars [to increase payroll], but it’s not going down..”

  52. Can’t see the Cubs giving up Zambrano, since he’s their only decent starter that isn’t likely to get hurt when a zephyr blows through Wrigley.

    I, also, am at a loss on how to handle AJ. Do we keep him for this year and make a run at the division? Do we trade him for prospects/a top quality starter? Try to get an extension done and roll the dice on his health?

    Plus, would AJ be willing to swap from CF to one of the corners? It would reduce the wear and tear on him, but would his pride prevent that? There are certainly a lot of issues to settle before pitchers and catchers report.

  53. Haynesworth’s previous problems had been hidden from attention because they took place in practice. As a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, he fought with tackle Will Ofenheusle and left practice, returning with a long pole before coach Phillip Fulmer stopped him. He was suspended for half a game.

    anyone think charges should be pressed against him after Sunday’s game?

  54. Stu/Dix,

    And Georgia went into Columbia & shut out the Cocks. Does that, by extension, mean that Auburn is somehow overrated because that game came down to a dropped USC pass in the end zone?

    Of course not. That’s why we play the games.

    We’ve had close games with lousy teams in the past & went on to have big seasons. Doesn’t matter. The only things that matter are Ws & Ls (especially SEC games). And a head-to-head matchup is the only useful manner to compare teams. Everything else is ca-ca. National ratings, “national championships”—crap-o-rama.

    You beat us? You’re better. We beat you? We’re better. Simple. Buckle your chinstrap & get ready for a ballgame because I guarantee you nobody wearing red & black will be thinking about the Ole Miss game on Saturday night.

    If this is only the second big test of the season for Georgia, so be it. If Georgia isn’t as good overall as last year, that’s fine, too. But if you’re a Georgia fan, you have a reason to believe because you’ve seen this scenario many times before. Just when you count us out, we’ve got a surprise for you.

    Of course, this is what makes SEC football fun. I’ve always believed that the anticipation of the game is almost as fun as the game itself.

    7:45 Saturday night can’t come soon enough.

  55. Hampton is unmoveable. I just try to be optimistic that he will give us something better than we got from our 4th starters this year. It wouldn’t take much for that to be true.

    I think you have to move Hudson if you can get an attractive offer for him that includes at least one AAA star prospect. The Braves aren’t the Yankees. They can’t afford to just eat a failed free agent signing like the Yanks have with Pavano. The risk that Hudson’s decline is permanent is just too great when you consider how much he is owed. I’m afraid that Huddie has been hiding a serious injury probably in his shoulder. Supposing that’s true and the injury doesn’t heal in the offseason and reaches a critical point next year that knocks Hudson out for a year or more, the Braves would be in a world of hurt. No, they have to try to get out of that contract while they can.

  56. ububba,

    Forgot about South Carolina. Sorry about that. That one was an impressive win. And they’re definitely better than Air Force or Memphis.

    Still, South Carolina isn’t Tennessee. And Auburn didn’t get to play against Blake Mitchell, or they might not have had nearly as much trouble.

    You honestly believe that the fact that Georgia has had such a tough time with these mediocre (at best) teams doesn’t mean anything? I disagree. I watched UT struggle against mediocre teams last year (UAB, for example) before imploding, largely as a result of the same weaknesses UGA has. Now, I don’t think Georgia is about to implode completely — there’s a lot more discipline here than in Knoxville — but I think you should be very, very worried about this team’s capability against opponents with equal-or-better recruiting classes on their roster.

    I expect that anticipation of the game is going to be a lot more fun for you than the game itself this year.

  57. The two contracts were signed at different period and at different age of the player. It is just not fair to compare like that. Besides, there is no secret that Smoltzie gave the Braves a hometown discount.

  58. Dan,

    Remember, we didn’t sign Hampton to that deal, but we assumed a big chunk of it on the back end.

    Of course, Smoltz has had plenty of opportunities to leave. We, as Braves fans, are darn fortunate to have him.

  59. There’s no way you get an AAA star prospect for Hudson. I think, if you want to move Hudson, the only way that’s even possible is if you basically agree to trade him for nothing. What you get in return is the absence of his future salary on our future budgets.

  60. I think Hampton can handle a full season, as long as they handle him gingerly. Shoot for 30 starts, 180 innings, extra days off where possible. Take it slowly and build him up.

    I don’t suspect they’ll do that, though.

  61. Stu, I dont know if we could do that. For someone to eat the full amount we may have to give them someone also, maybe a A or AA player along with Huddy’s full contract. What’s is contract? Is it 6,13, 13 or is this incorrect. Is the final year an option year? If not, we need to go ahead and prorate his salary starting this year. Instead of 6 make it something like 10, 11, 11. Either way its killing us.

    As for Hampton making more than Smoltz, in everyone’s eyes we should be paying them the same next year. That’s if we prorated it to $8 mil like we were told..

  62. Stu, I dont know if we could do that. For someone to eat the full amount we may have to give them someone also, maybe a A or AA player along with Huddy’s full contract. What’s is contract? Is it 6,13, 13 or is this incorrect. Is the final year an option year? If not, we need to go ahead and prorate his salary starting this year. Instead of 6 make it something like 10, 11, 11. Either way its killing us.

    As for Hampton making more than Smoltz, in everyone’s eyes we should be paying them the same next year. That’s if we prorated it to $8 mil like we were told..

  63. “Of course, Smoltz has had plenty of opportunities to leave. We, as Braves fans, are darn fortunate to have him.”

    Ain’t that the truth. Smoltz has treated the Braves and their fans very well.

  64. CSG,

    Yeah that guy is amazing. He put up 288 total yards against Ohio State.(171 rush, 117 rec)He deserves alot more heisman hype but he isnt cause he goes to Northern Illinois. He’s a Brian Westbrook type player. But is a better rusher.

  65. ridiculous, stats for that guy

    I think I want to see the Padres and the Twins in the WS? Also, both NY teams need to be knocked out in the 1st round

  66. Brian Westbrook
    Sophomore- 200 att. 1046 yds 10 TDs, 89 rec. 1144 yds 11 TDs
    Junior- 179 att. 1220 yds 15 TDs, 59 rec. 724 yds 5 TDs
    Senior- 249 att. 1603 yds 22 TDs, 59 rec. 658 yds 6 TDs

    Garrett Wolfe
    Sophomore- 256 att. 1656 yds 18 TDs, 10 rec. 117 yds 3 TDs
    Junior-242 att. 1580 yds 16 TDs, 20 rec. 222 yds 1 TD
    Senior(so far)- 127 att. 1181 yds 11 TDs, 12 rec. 159 yds 1 TDs

    Obviously he isn’t as good as a receiver but the rushing yards isn’t even close. Garrett Wolfe didn’t play as a freshman and Westbrook’s # weren’t great so I just didn’t put them.

  67. “Third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez is expected to leave for a managerial position, probably with Florida. Bench coach Pat Corrales and bullpen coach Bobby Dews will step down, Dews, 67, is moving to another position with the Braves as an adviser or special assistant.”

    from prosportsdaily

    Okay, Blake Mitchell is not Syvelle Newton. USC used 5-wideout sets with a QB that could absolutely fly – it confused the Auburn defense and Newton turned into a very very very good QB. I would have much rather faced Mitchell.

  68. Yeah, I really blew the Reitsma predicion. Pretty bad, at that. To be fair, I don’t think anyone could have imagined him stinking THAT bad. With that said…

    While I obviously acknowledge that we don’t have the 1992-1997 versions of Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz, we will have a good rotation. The NL sucks pretty bad, and relatively speaking, Smoltz with his production last year and Hudson and Hampton giving us high-3/low-4 ERAs will put us in pretty good shape. There’s no way Hudson will suck this bad again. I think he’s too much of a competitor. Plus, let’s not get shortsighted; he did post a 3.52 ERA in 2005. It’s hard to believe he’ll drop off this abruptly for the rest of his career, especially with his K rate rising.

    As for Hampton, give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Forget the salary- there’s nothing we can do about that- and look at his production before his injury. There’s reasons to be encouraged. Can he stay healthy? I dunno. Is he going to have ample opportunities to get his body into shape? Absolutely. Let’s be encouraged by that.

    It doesn’t take a Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz to be competitive in the National League in 2007. We just need some decent pitching, our bullpen not to demoralize the team, and just sit back and watch our lineup 1 through 8 knock the crap out of the baseball.

    Speaking of our offense, we did a really good job this year considering what we were projecting. Giles recovered and still had an above-average year for a second baseman. Francouer, although he still sucks, didn’t murder us, McCann turned into a silver slugger, and LaRoche turned into a raking monster. Everybody else stayed at their production levels. Let’s just get a LF that can lead off and we’ll lead the league again.

    So with that said, why all the Pendleton hate? If we sucked at the plate this year, his criticism would be justified. But since we did great, why not give him atleast a bye from criticism? As for the plate discipline deal, everybody but Diaz and Francouer walked. That’s not Pendleton’s fault. Was it Rob Deer’s batting coaches fault he didn’t walk? I’ve never heard that…

  69. Mac,

    Andruw Jones has probably made $30-$50 million in his career. How much more do you need to insure your family’s security? I understand that the way these guys keep score is by how much they make, but it’s sort of insulting to the rest of us to suggest that Andruw has not made enough to take care of his family for the rest of his life. What does he want to do, buy Curacao? I have no problem with these guys getting paid, but don’t try to say it’s so your family has security. That’s nonsense.

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