Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 2. Middle Infield

So, the Braves find themselves with three middle infielders, all of whom are (apparently) well above-average offensively for the position, none of whom is a Gold Glove candidate but all of whom are adequate defensively, and who have different strengths and weaknesses. You can go into the next season with the status quo, if you so desire, but given the team’s needs at other positions (center, the middle of the rotation, possibly left field) it would seemingly be better to move — either within the team or without — one of the supernumerary infielders to fix another position.

Assuming that the present players are the group from within which next year’s starters are chosen, there are four possibilities:

1. The status quo: Renteria at short, Escobar and Johnson platooning at second, with Escobar also backing up at short.
2. Escobar at short, Johnson at second.
3. Renteria at short, Escobar at second.
4. Renteria at short, Johnson at second.

Offensively, Renteria is the best hitter of the group, or was in 2007; given his age and injuries, and that the margins are fairly small, I don’t know that you can rely upon that continuing. Escobar is probably the best glove man of the three, at either position, but none of the three is really a plus. KJ has the biggest upside, probably, but I don’t know how much bigger than Escobar’s, and Escobar was a better player in 2007.

I think it comes down to two points: Finances, and what you can get in a trade. Renteria makes a lot of money and will be a free agent after the season, while the other two are cheap and won’t be free agents for several years. This element is strongly in favor of Renteria being traded, but at the same time decreases his value. Johnson and Escobar could potentially bring a lot in trade; different teams probably value them differently. The A’s, for example, would be more likely to value KJ, while the Cubs would probably prefer Yunel.

Who would be a prime suitor for Renteria? We would think big-market teams that plan to be competitive in 2008, and have problems at shortstop. The Cubs, for example, used Ryan Theriot as their primary shortstop, and he is 27 years old and can’t hit (72 OPS+) but can steal a lot of bases. Maybe they’d be interested. Across town, Juan Uribe played a big role in the White Sox’s collapse, and they’re supposedly the prime target. Unfortunately, the big three (the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers) aren’t targets, as the Yankees and Dodgers are set at shortstop, and while Julio Lugo was awful this year, bringing Renteria back is not going to be considered.

If you’re more concerned about 2008 and getting value (rather than financial relief) in a trade, you’d be better off trading one of the others. Escobar or KJ plus a pitching prospect could probably bring a solid pitcher in return. With Lillibridge waiting in the wings, the Braves could afford to deal one of the two younger players.

I think, however, that they will deal Renteria, and get what they can.

93 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: 2. Middle Infield”

  1. Another issue is that you have to assume that Chipper will miss a significant number of games so that you need an at least adequate back-up like Escobar. Otherwise, you risk having a Chris Woodward type getting significant playing time.

  2. I like all three players and wouldn’t mind if they all returned, but just can’t see it working out that way. We need pitching, and this is our strongest area to deal from in my opinion. Moving Renteria makes sense financially because KJ and Escobar will be cheap, and personally, I’d like to see what they can do playing full time. But, and it’s a big but, if we want the most return, dealing Escobar or KJ would most likely bring the biggest return. It’ll be interesting to see how JS plays it.

  3. Any idea what Aybar’s status is/will be? If he’s in the shuffle, that will provide even more flexibility.

  4. Also, doesn’t Renteria have a team option for 2009 at about 10 million with Boston on the hook for the buyout? Anybody trading him would like that feture in case he had another pretty big year next year.

    I think Renteria is more important to the mental make up of the club than either of the others. I think out of Prado, Lillibridge, Aybar, Diory Hernandez, JC Holt and whoever, we have better options than a Woodward. However, the odds are that none of them would be as good next year as either Escobar or KJ.

    I am still awfully suspicious of Escobar falling a little to earth. However, I believe Mac’s comments a wee or so ago were dead on in that he has proved he is not a fluke or a AAAA player. He is a bona fide major league shortstop (and those are not easy to come by).

    I would trade ESco or KJ and a few more pieces for a young starter that projects as a 3 now with upside that might take him to 2 or 1. That gives us a backstop to allow James and Reyes to develop to their potential and for the “younguns” (Rohrbaugh, Hanson, etc.) to be ready to go.

  5. Is there a site that easily explains the status of our minor leaguers? (who is on 40 man roster, who is Rule 5 eligible if not added this fall, who has options to go back to the minors). This is a big part of trade and roster decisions. If no site, can we create that data base?

    Also, who is arb eligible, how much they are likely to increase and who has options to go back down will affect payroll and thus roster decisions.

  6. Many of you won’t know who I am, but I post the odd comment every once in a while. I’d just like to say now that my little brother just moved to Atlanta, so the odds of me seeing a Braves game in person just increased, um, highly. I was about to say @$+r0nomically, but, um, screw those guys. It’s kind of a big deal for me, having been overseas for about 16 years now (although I did get to see the Falcons scrubs beat the Cowboys scrubs a number of years ago at the Tokyo Dome). It looks like I’ll have to come visit him during a long homestand.

    Cheers,

    Bill

  7. kc,

    The D-Rays have Brignac, Harris, Longoria, and Iwamura…why would they want Lillibridge? I just don’t see a deal with the D-Rays getting done, now that we don’t have Salty anymore.

  8. Bill,

    Welcome. The Ted is a beautiful field, I can’t wait to go to another game. I have to settle for Shea Stadium if I want to see a game (ugh).

    I get the feeling that Cox like Escobar more than KJ. Didn’t Cox bench KJ for an extended period of time earlier this year for an undisclosed reason? Trying to pull off a bunt when he didn’t have a sign, something like that.

    It’s very clear that we only need one pitcher next year, and with so much to offer as far as young and/or All-Star caliber middle infielders, it’s starting to look like a Glavine acquisition isn’t meant to be.

  9. Yes, Cox seems to just hate Kelly Johnson ever since a failed bunt attempt against the Tigers back in, I think June. The next day he started Yunel Escobar, against a right-hander. It was also at that time Bobby Cox started the second base platoon and moved Johnson from the leadoff spot and put Willie Harris there.

    Cox plays favorites, I think that is obvious.

  10. The Rays have Eva Longoria????? j/k

    I agree with Mac that the Braves will probably try the hardest to trade Renteria, however IMHO Escobar who LOOKS good at SS and has the gaudy .320+ BA will be the most tradeable asset. Add to that the fact that KJ pretty much stunk it up the last month of the season. If we can get someone to give us a pitching prospect like we tried with Baltimore last year then since we have un natural depth at the position, trade him.
    But if we can’t get value for any of them then try to play all of them. Y’all are right either Johnson or Escobar off the bench is way better than Chris Woodward. KJ could platoon in Left with Diaz. Or if they decide to try Francouer in center you could see a KJ Frenchy Diaz/Jones OF next season. That is, unless we trade for Rocco Baldelli. Sorry couldn’t help myself there.

  11. I really don’t think KJ will be moved back to left, at least not with the Braves. He’ll either be our 2B or on another team.

    I think Brandon Jones will be Diaz’s platoon partner. Or the everyday LF, if Diaz is included in a deal for a pitcher.

  12. “When can trades officially begin?”

    I think now. But most teams wait until after the World Series to do anything. Past offseasons seem to indicate trades start really picking up around the GM meetings in November.

  13. Renteria almost has to be traded for any scenario that involves signing a free agent outfielder or pitcher or working out an extension with Teixeira to happen. So let’s assume he’s gone. We don’t know whether that will be part of a major deal that brings back an outfielder or pitcher or whether he’ll be traded for minor leaguers just to open a spot for Escobar and clear payroll.

    I suspect they’ll keep Escobar and Johnson since they are proven, cheap, effective major leaguers which means Lillibridge could be part of a trade that brings back pitching or outfield help. Or alternatively since there does seem to be some friction between Bobby and KJ maybe Johnson will be traded and Lillibridge will be given a chance to win either SS or 2nd in spring training.

    Hopefully Orr and Woodward will be gone and Prado and Aybar will be the main backup infielders (do either of them play shortstop though?).

  14. I am pretty sure Selig cemented the rule that you cannot do any trades until the end of the postseason. MLB did not want anything taking away from their games.

  15. From an ESPN.com story on Boras:

    Imagine adding seven years to your career, Boras tells his new kids. Imagine what history you can make with those years. Boras shows them the batting cages and the private gym. This is an institute, not some spa. Each member of Team Boras gets a dedicated program designed by Steve Odgers, the former White Sox conditioning director and decathlete, who has a neck the width of an oak tree, a guy with 13 years of training data etched in journals. Odgers gets prospects when they’re just out of high school and puts them through a year-round program designed specifically for each player — because a relief pitcher is not the same as a second baseman. He even teaches them yoga. Show me a team that can do all that.

    Throughout the year, Boras dispatches Odgers and four other trainers around the country to check in on A-Rod, Dice-K, Pudge and the rest. It’s Odgers who tells teams what program the players should follow.

    Maybe the trainer should check up on AJ a bit more often.

  16. I really hope we keep KJ. I think he is going to end up being close to a Chase Utley type 2nd baseman, as far as batting goes.

    I think without question the ideal situation would be to trade Renty, and keep KJ and Yunel. Also, I would move Lillibridge to a utility type role.

  17. While the financial aspects argue for trading Renteria, I think it would be a great mistake. The Braves are a young team and losing Andruw (which is almost a sure thing) leaves only Chipper and Edgar as veteran presences in the line-up. Considering Chipper will surely lose some time to injury, if we trade Edgar we’ll likely have guys like Franky and McCann as the most veteran in the line-up. I’m not sure that is a good recipe for long term success over 162 games.

    As well, the Braves were a maddeningly inconsistent team this year with only Chipper and Edgar providing any day in/day out consistency, and arguably Renteria was most consistent of any player on the team all year. I do not think it is a stretch to see his impact by looking at how the team played while he was out of the line-up.

    Trading Edgar would be a horrendous mistake and there is no way he’s going to pull in a 3rd starter all by himself (all fantasies aside.)

    Were it me, I’d have Escobar at 2nd and Edgar staying at short. I would hate to lose Johnson and on his own, he won’t fetch much on the trade market, but if JS gets creative, he could swing something. But trading Edgar would almost ensure this team will give us another year of scoring ten runs one day and barely able to score one the next.

  18. I’d consider Teixeira a veteran presence. He’s also a provider of consistency.

    I agree that Edgar is valuable, but I don’t think trading him would be a “horrendous mistake.” There’s no way he’ll hit as well next year, for starters.

    Also, the financial situation don’t just “argue for” trading Edgar—IMO, it almost necessitates it.

  19. Francoeur, Diaz, and McCann have been around a while by now too. There’s no lack of veterans in the offense. There’s certainly a risk in trading Edgar at the same time you’re losing Andruw to free agency, but it’s a risk worth taking if it strengthens the pitching staff or allows the team to get a centerfielder who is not quite as good as Andruw defensively but still can contribute offensively for a lot less money than Andruw will ask for.

  20. Good point, Stu – he is consistent though I’m not sure how Veteran – he’s just now hitting his free agency (or will at the end of the year.)

  21. Have to agree with Stu on that one. I think Edgar is a great player, and don’t want to lose him. That said, I think the money could be used in better places.

    I wouldn’t even be surprised to see the Braves swallow some of the money in addition to the money the Red Sox are paying in a trade. I believe the Braves are only paying $7 – 8 million for him next year. If they were willing to swallow more of that I think he becomes a lot more attractive. A team would be getting an all-star caliber player at a much reduced price. Trade Renteria + cash considerations for a pitcher. What do you think?

  22. I like Renteria but the Braves were pretty much a “10/1” team even with him. Their record in games in which they scored 4 runs or less was horrendous so they have to strengthen the pitching (or score six runs every night). (Yes, I know the team ERA wasn’t that bad but it was obviously skewed by Hudson and Smoltz. They can’t win consistently getting good pitching two days out of five.)

  23. I wouldn’t include cash. That sort of negates the point of unloading his salary. It’s not like he’s making 20 million and we can still save by paying 10—we’re only on the hook for 6 million next year, and to make it worth trading Edgar, I think we need to clear that much off the books.

  24. Including cash wouldn’t be what we’d want to do. If we’re going to do that, we might as well include Escobar, who would probably give us a better return.

    Speaking of Escobar and better return, if Escobar could bring us back a younger, quality starter pitcher, wouldn’t that be the same as Renteria bringing us back an older, quality starting pitcher? The younger pitcher will probably be cheaper, whereas there wouldn’t be much salary taken on, and we then could afford to keep Renteria, and we’re have a better pitcher longer.

  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfz6l2n_e40

    Beat the Mets
    Beat the Mets
    Last place teams defeat the Mets
    Hanging sliders, minor league speed
    Guaranteed to waste a 7 game lead

    Because the Mets bullpen keeps fading away
    October baseball won’t be at Shea

    Mota….Sosa
    Every game is now in doubt
    Can anyone who’s on this staff, get three men out?

  26. I honestly hope they will keep Rentaria and move KJ back to the outfield though as someone said that’s not likely to happen. I just don’t think you will get the kind of starter we need in return. I think they will move KJ. I have no idea which starter the Braves will target.

  27. That’s the sort of thing I was trying to get at with my KJ/Jo-Jo/(maybe something) else for Dan Haren proposal yesterday. If the pitcher we’re getting in return isn’t too expensive, we might not have to trade Edgar.

    FWIW, Haren still costs $4MM next season. That might mean we still had to trade Edgar to make room for a Teixeira extension (which, if it were up to me, would be Offseason Priority #1, even ahead of finding another starter). A lot really does depend on just what our budget will look like for 2008.

    All in all, I’ll be very interested to see what JS does.

  28. I’d add the Tigers to the list of suiters. They’re apparently set on moving Guillen to first base. Dombrowski and Leyland were with Renteria when they were all in FLA.

  29. Thinking off the top of my head, one of our biggest problems might actually be that most of our valuable trading pieces are middle infielders. Teams like getting several players in return for quality, but they aren’t likely to want multiple guys of the same age who play the same position.

    The more I think about it, the more I think Matt Diaz is very likely to be traded.

  30. As far as packages are concerned, you are probably right on that score, Stu. Hate to see it, since all he does is hit, hit, and hit some more, but it’s very possible.

  31. Truly – who is really untouchable? Chipper, Tex, Franky and McCann surely. And Smoltz, Gonzo and Soriano I guess for pitchers. Anyone else absolutely untouchable?

  32. I’d say Hudson, after this past season, is pretty much untouchable, barring a Clayton Kershaw being offered in return, which I highly doubt.

    As quality-pitching-starved as this organization is right now, I don’t think it will be looking to move either of its two reliable starters.

  33. Cannot imagine any way we could get a pitcher like Haren for what we would be willing to make available.

    Obviously you would not throw cash in a trade for Renteria unless you thought it could get you a better player. It was more an observation on how I think the market is changing for baseball. It seems to me that one of the few ways to trade veteran players and still get quality players in return is to pay a portion of the salary. This of course is usually done when the other player being dealt is pre-arbitration player, though not sure which way the Braves would go on that.

  34. Is there any reason to think the A’s would part with Haren or is the Haren talk just idle speculation?

  35. Definitely just idle speculation. Haren’s so reasonably priced that even the A’s don’t have to think about shopping him unless they’re blown away. And I don’t think we can blow them away. I do think Blanton is a distinct possibility, though.

  36. Here’s an interesting thought:

    After 2008, Atlanta will be shedding over $40M in payroll from the twilight of contracts to 3 SP: Hampton, Smoltz, and Hudson. That year is also, coincidently, the year Johan Santana becomes a FA. We’ll still have Chucky and JoJo around at low rates, so perhaps we becomes the ones to spend $30M on Johan?

    I don’t really think it’ll happen (we’ll probably try to re-sign Huddy, and Tex’ll have to get paid, too). But damn, wouldn’t Johan in Atlanta be nice?

  37. Um, Hudson is signed through ’09 with a mutual option for 2010, and Smoltz has a 2009 option that vests with 200 IP and a 2010 club option.

    It will be after 2009 at the absolute earliest that we’re without those two.

  38. Dan,
    You asked me to get back to you when Hoffman blew a one-run lead in the 7th game of the WS. That may be impossible because he’s never been there.

    Why? Well, here’s his entire World Series record: 0-1, 1 save opp, 1 blown save, 9.00 ERA. (Career post-season stats: 12 G, 13 IP, 3.46 ERA)

    Ready for Mariano Rivera’s post-season stats?
    73 G, 112.2 IP, 0.80 ERA, 34 saves

    That includes 23 consecutive saves & a scoreless inning streak of 30+ innings.

    If you want to know the main reason why the Yankees had so much success in the post-season, look no further than Rivera. Basically, between 1998 & that 7th game in Arizona, he gave up next to nothing. Additionally, taken as a whole, his are the greatest pitching stats in the history of MLB post-season.

    You can hate the Yankees all you want & that’s fine, but don’t let it cloud your judgment about ballplayers & their accomplishments. Hoffman has been a great regular-season closer, but he’s still a long, long way from Rivera.

  39. It’s interesting that the prospect of trading Renteria now excites as much discussion as trading Marte for him did back when.

    Would Bronson Arroyo be a suitable number 3? Rumor had us almost getting him at the trade deadline (for Escobar, I think).

    He pitched 210 innings with a 4.23 ERA and a WHIP of 1.40 in that band box. He alos had a good strikeout to walk ratio.

    Is he worthy of acquisition?

    If so, at what price?

  40. Better than Smoltz even? I haven’t looked at Smoltz’s postseason stats in quite a while, but I have trouble believing that they’re so much worse as to make a closer’s stats “greater”.

    That said, yeah, it’s ridiculous to argue that Rivera is anything other than the greatest closer in the history of MLB.

  41. No knock on Rivera, but he also was never starting those games in the WS like Smoltz. I would argue there has never been such a competitor. You give me any pitcher for one game, and I think I would take Smoltz. There are better career pitchers, but he always seems to get it done when it matters most.

  42. Sorry, but ububba’s right on Rivera.

    Here are John Smoltz’s postseason stats: 15-4, 4 SV, 207 IP, 194 K, 2.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP.
    (Career stats: 207-145, 154 SV, 3367 IP, 2975 K, 3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP).

    I like to think he’s more impressive than Schilling because of the innings, but Schilling’s no slouch either.
    Postseason: 8-2, 109.1 IP, 104 K, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
    (Regular season career: 216-146, 22 SV, 3261 IP, 3116 K, 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

    But then there’s Mariano.
    Postseason stats: 8-1, 34 SV, 112.2 IP, 87 K, 0.80 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
    (Regular season: 62-44, 443 SV, 953 IP, 857 K, 2.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

    Because of the number of innings pitched and the number of wins, I think there’s a fair case to be made that Smoltz is the best postseason starting pitcher of all time.

    But Mo has as many wins as Schilling and has pitched even more postseason innings, and he has a season’s worth of saves. He’s not just the best postseason pitcher of all time, he’s the best postseason player of all time. He’s basically the 2000-2004 Barry Bonds of the postseason. And he’s more or less 1992-1994 Barry Bonds in the regular season.

  43. It’s impressive, no doubt. For me, though, dominance as a starter is far more impressive. (And starting pitching is far more important.) My nod, however valueless, still goes to Smotlz.

  44. A closer’s numbers are almost always better than a starter’s. Compare Smoltz’s numbers from when he closed and when he started. He’s the same pitcher, but by ratios his numbers were better when closing. I don’t know why, I suspect a closer is able to be more dominant because they don’t have to pace themselves.

  45. I’m not saying that it isn’t fairly debatable.

    And I do believe that a closer must be off-the-charts outstanding to be considered the best post-season pitcher of all time (in front of any starter), but I think Rivera fits the bill.

    I also believe that he’s had more impact on his team’s ultimate success than anyone else. I’m not sure that can be debated.

  46. Exactly Andy. Plus hitters only get to face a relief pitcher once a game. They get three or four at bats against starters and thus are able to adjust to the pitcher. Comparing starters to relievers is apples to oranges anyway, so maybe both sides are right: Smoltz = best postseason starter; Rivera = best postseason reliever.

  47. Alex,

    That is an interesting debate as to who is the most dominant postseason player. If you think about it would almost have to come from the modern era of baseball with the inclusion of the division series and wild card. This has enabled more players to play more games and pitch more innings.

    So, I guess the question would be who has been the best player over that time? You would think it would have to be a Brave or a Yankee due to the number of postseason appearances. Can anyone think of any other players besides Smoltz and Rivera?

  48. Jeter’s post-season numbers are outstanding, very similar to his regular-season numbers, but he’s in super-pressure situations & he’s not facing the Sidney Ponsons of the world.

  49. Think about that for a second.

    Rivera has also blown a few big games — Game 7 of the ’01 World Series against the D’Backs and failed to close out Boston, who eventually rallied from an 0-3 hole, in Game 4 of the ’04 ALCS. He’s the best closer in history, and *ONE* of the best postseason pitchers ever, but he’s not some infallible superhuman.

  50. No doubt, that is pretty outrageous. I knew he was great in the postseason, but when actually stare at the numbers their pretty mind numbing. It looks like something you would put up playing Baseball on your old Nintendo system.

  51. Well, back to the middle infield portion of our thread….

    I like Renteria’s veteran presence, and I think the Braves’ funk during Edgar’s August injury showed how much he meant to this team. But, if we don’t want to wind up selling the future for a year and a half of Mark Teixeria, then Edgar, unfortunately imho, needs to be dealt.

    I wonder if the Reds would do a Renteria-Arroyo trade? Edgar would hit well in the Great American Bandbox, and I think Arroyo would be a quality third starter in The Ted. But as I type this, I wonder what the terms of Arroyo’s contract are….Hate to make the trade only to have Bronson become the Albatross around the Budget.

  52. My bet in all of this is that we trade Renteria for a pitcher with a big upside who is either in the prospect status or just above that status. We let him battle with Reyes for the 5th starter spot and pick up Glavine as a FA.

    That gives us a rotation of:
    Hudson
    Smoltz
    Glavine
    James
    Reyes or new guy

    If Hampton gets healthy, we find a spot for him, but the main thing is that we try to develop for the years ahead while upgrading (hopefully) with Glavine.

    I’m not sure if this is the best option, but it’s what I’m guessing. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see James traded.

  53. That doesn’t really mean anything. Andruw isn’t going to get $20 million a year from the Braves, but he’s not getting that from anyone. I never expected that the Braves would sign him to a long-term deal anyway. It depends on what happens in the arbitration-chicken game.

  54. Wow. The article on Andruw is amazing. Making a decision this quickly is actually a good move because it allows us to start trying out prospects like Lillibridge in CF (in winter ball) without rumors swirling about AJ leaving or staying.

  55. That was pretty stunning. I never thought he was coming back, but to hear JS say that flat out was surprising. I wonder what motivated the move. I am sure Boras is not happy to have one prospective suitor removed from the table.

  56. But, it sounds like Schuerholz is not looking at offering arb to Andruw. That is the financial block they can’t get around to be able to deal. When would Andruw have to accept arb by?

    My memory is two weeks after World Series to offer arb and two weeks thereafter to accept arb. (+ / – November 25 you know where you stand).

    Can we wait until then to know our financial commitments to align our other trades or whatever?

  57. Good move by the Braves. I’m not comfortable with giving AJ 7 Years 140 Mil+, its not good business for us. I agree with Mac however, I dont know if anyone is going to give him that kind of money, well, maybe the Yankmees. I’d rather give that money to Tex and a SP…..

  58. The Braves can’t pay him $20M, but what about $15M? That’s not much more than he made this season. And if they go to arbitration with the Braves offering 15 and Boras asking 20, the Braves will win.

  59. And Mac, IF Andruw takes arb, then you can be damn sure that Boras thinks it will make Andruw money. And the only way that can happen is if he plays much better than this year. Another year like this will put him below Rowand, Cameron, and who knows who else.

    Worst case on offering arb: We pay 15 mill and get what we got this year. That IS a pretty bad case. (and, by necessity, have to go “trade young talent get young good starting pitcher” route).

    Next worst: We pay 15 mill and get a rejuvenated Andruw (also the “trade young talent get young good starting pitcher” route).

    Best case: Offer arb, he walks, we free payroll and we get draft choices. We can bring in an expensive pitcher, extend Tex (unlikely with Boras, particularly if we snub him or “chicken” him on Andruw)

  60. Mac,

    I think that if the Braves are willing to pay him $15M, someone else will be willing to pay him more than $15M.

    Though there are not necessarily that many teams out there who need a CF and can afford one that expensive there still are a couple. I bet the Angels or Dodgers would be willing to go over $15mil for him.

    Its a weird situation with Andruw, as much as I like him as a fan, I wouldn’t want the Braves to pay him $15M+ even if this was the Ted Turner Braves with no budget limitations. He just isn’t worth it, even if the dollars were not a scarce resource he’d be earning more than he deserves based on last year. If anything, he owes the Braves about $10M of his salary back.

  61. extend Tex (unlikely with Boras, particularly if we snub him or “chicken” him on Andruw)

    I don’t think Andruw’s situation will affect Teix’s negatively at all. Boras works for Teixeira, so if Teixeira wants to sign with the Braves, the fact that Boras is annoyed by the team’s treatment of another of his client’s won’t even come into play.

    Besides, cutting ties with Andruw is crucial to the team being able to afford serious negotiations with Teix in the first place. I think he’ll realize that.

  62. I agree. I don’t think one client has anything to do with the other. Boras is looking to make the most money for his clients. He’s not concocting revenge fantasies.

  63. On the espn story, on the same subject: it’s so funny how when these things come out into the open, everyone – except maybe JS, who is the most, and perhaps only remaining straight shooter – changes their stories. Andruw says he has been telling this to people for a long time? Sure, fine. I guess.

    I think it’s the right move. The idea of someone like JS sitting down to negotiate with someone like Boras is almost as weird as the idea of JS forking over $140 million to a 30-year center fielder coming off his worst season. It’s just not gonna work. I don’t know if the Braves can replace Andruw’s glove and bat adequately in free agency, for much less money anyway, but if that frees up enough change to find a decent starter and/or sign Teixeira, I’m all for it.

    And that was some game last night…

  64. Did he really sing that on the air? Guess it’s the end of the line, so he didn’t care.

    Although Skip’s are better, I have alternative lyrics for “Meet the Mets” myself, but they’re too filthy to be shared in a public forum.

  65. i know we have a long offseason, but can anyone produce the 2008 payroll thus far so we can see what we have to work with?

  66. It’s official. The Braves’ Web site says that Andruw is not in JS’ plans for the 2008 season.

  67. Mac, I agree. Let the posturing begin. You have to admit that this is different. The public stuff starting out right away.

  68. Given the lineups and the ballparks, I think the Rocks/Phils could be a wild one.

    But I agree that the D-Backs/Cubs doesn’t look amazing on the surface.

    How weird would a Cubs/Phils NLCS be? I mean, somebody’s gotta win, right?

    My worth-nothing predictions:

    Phils over Rockies in 5: A full-on shootout.

    Cubs over D-Backs in 5: Zzzzzz.

    Yanks over Tribe in 4: Joba rules.

    Sox over Angels in 4: Manny wakes up & breaks out.

    Phils over Cubs in 6: Zambrano takes a liner off his kneecap & takes on the entire Phillies bench. Utley kills the Cubs.

    Yanks over Sox in 7: Joba rules.

    And what the hell? Phils over Yanks in 7. Utley tames Joba.

  69. Oh, man. Skip singing is awesome.

    I really hope he comes back to call games on the radio next year. I’ll miss him and Pete if they don’t. :’-(

    Also, not offering Andruw arbitration is a bad, bad move unless there are unavoidable extenuating salary concerns.

  70. Also, it’s not entirely his fault since the Myrtle Beach publicity department did such a lousy job Photoshopping on the hat, but Jordan Schafer, centerfielder of the future, is ” rel=”nofollow”>apparently an elf.

  71. Mac,

    @90: No, and Moore can bite me when I say “Sorry to see you go, Andruw, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out, because I don’t want ass prints on my door.”

    @91: Ouch. That’s a BAD job.

  72. The choice to not negotiate with AJ is the opening salvo in the Braves attempt to sign Texeria to a long term deal. Tex produced big time and I can imagine they would rather spend the big bucks on a guy who is actually a good hitter and cleanup stalwart as opposed to Andruw, who is a mistake hitter and possibly on the downside of an otherwise good career. Also, this frees up 2008 money to try and pursue pitching help, and I would imagine Renteria is probably gone too since they have a capable replacement.

    I will be interested to see also what happens with LF. I asume Diaz will either be retained as a right handed platoon player or traded. I wonder if Kelly Johnson will move back to the outfield to platoon there or play every day.

    This also opens up CF, which is a big hole to fill. I’m not sure what we do about that but I suspect the answer will come from outside the organization.

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