101 thoughts on “Where angels fear to thread”

  1. One thing to mention about Haren, he’s good, don’t get me wrong, and I know he’s switching leagues, but he’s also going from a pretty damn good pitcher’s park to a pretty good hitter’s park.

    The DBacks gave up a ton in this deal, but they had to. I actually like the trade for both teams. The Valverde trade doesn’t make nearly as much sense to me for the DBacks but they have the arms to close I guess.

  2. BTW, David Palmer is now a real estate title examiner in the Atlanta area. I think he does it just to stay busy.

  3. Just a note before I go… App State is playing Delaware in the Div. 1-AA finals. And Delaware’s helmets are Michigan take-offs. That’s just asking for it.

    Camp was fifth.

  4. You can describe the entirety of Atlanta Braves history in three eras, which have almost no overlap:

    The Phil Niekro Era
    The Jeff Dedmon Era
    The John Smoltz Era

  5. did anyone see the Del. player throw the football and hit the police officer? they had to restrain the officer

  6. mlb rumors on the Haren trade

    “To balance out the immense value of Haren, the A’s get six young players. Four of them represent the #1, 3, 7, and 8th ranked prospects on Baseball America’s top ten for the team.

    Carlos Gonzalez, 22, is the stud of the group. He can play right or center and has definite star potential. However, he’s no lock to become Carlos Beltran or Jeff Francoeur.”

  7. Yes, it’s Falcone. Only six pitchers had winning records in that period:

    1 Pete Falcone .560
    2 Paul Assenmacher .548
    3 Jeff Dedmon .543
    4 Phil Niekro .524
    5 Rick Camp .512
    6 Pascual Perez .508

    Those were bad teams.

  8. I wish the Braves would sign Mike Cameron–but I know that he is too expensive or wants a multiyear deal.

    At least we are hot on the tail of a backup catcher….

  9. 40 — adding haren definitely improves their team a lot. but they were outscored by their opponents last year. they’ll need their young hitters to produce some more. i certainly wouldn’t harass anyone for picking them to win the west though.

  10. I wouldn’t lump the 1983 Braves in with the teams from 1985-1990. The Braves won 88 games in 1983, finishing 3 games behind the Dodgers, but had by far the best run differential in the league. The 1984 team wasn’t terrible, but it was the last of the Torre years, and a transition to a dark period as we began to feel the effects of the terrible Len Barker trade.

    As far as the winning percentage leaders in that era, Pascual Perez had practically clinched the title after 1984, but totally choked in 1985. Here are his yearly win-loss totals:

    1983: 15-8
    1984: 14-8
    1985: 1-13

  11. What has Arizona done this offseason to improve their offense? I haven’t heard of anything. It’s hard to believe they could win 100 games while being outscored again. Smoltz and Hudson stack up well vs Webb and Haren and I’ll take Atlanta’s bullpen and offense over the D-backs’.

  12. Well, by the Sportswriter’s Law of Being Young And Talented, it stands that the Diamondbacks are gauranteed to improve on their offense next year. ;)

  13. I would imagine that Arizona is not finished adding pieces to the team.

    They got a helluva top 2 starters, but ours ain’t so bad either.

  14. Stephen,

    With a 25-game suspension for 2008, I don’t think that Cameron is in a position to bargain for anything. At this point, though, it might be worth the risk.

  15. Young players are likely to get better, and the D-Backs’ lineup last year was extremely young:

    C 26
    1B 25
    2B 29
    3B 23
    SS 24
    LF 31
    CF 23
    RF 24

    SS (Drew) and CF (Young) are especially likely to get better. Also, the D-Backs were last in the league in BA (.250) and on-base (.321) while being eighth in walks and tenth in strikeouts; this argues that they were probably hit-unlucky last year and could “improve” a bunch just by luck.

    Trading Valverde was a bit odd, but closers are generally overvalued and you can argue that you should always look to trade them. I don’t see anyone who really looks like closer material on that team, though.

  16. Sam,
    I still like our lineup over theirs, by a lot. And remember, their top 2 guys might be better, but it doesn’t mean we couldn’t beat them in a 7- or 5-game series. Bring it on.

    The D-Backs will be good, but how can anyone in the NL really scare you? Nobody does.

  17. ububba — the giants scare me. that’s a frighteningly pathetic lineup they have. heh heh.

    (yet i still don’t understand why they’d consider trading their young pitching to improve the lineup… or why they’d commit 5 years and that kind of money to rowand. but that’s just me.)

  18. WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Nationals agreed to terms Saturday to sign left-handed reliever Ray King and utility infielder Pete Orr to minor-league contracts.
    King made 55 appearances with the Nationals this year, often with the job of retiring just one left-handed hitter, before he was traded to Milwaukee on Sept. 4 for prospect Andrew Lefave. King, who turns 34 next month, is 20-23 with two saves and a 3.43 ERA over nine major league seasons.

    The 28-year-old Orr spent three seasons with Atlanta. He hit .200 with two RBIs in 57 games this year. His best season came as a rookie in 2005, when he batted .300 with one homer, eight RBIs and seven stolen bases in 112 games.

    The Braves designated Orr for assignment last month.

  19. actually…

    the RF from the diamondbacks was just traded to the A’s.

    i mean, upton’s gonna be a stud…as will stephen drew…but…that’s about it

  20. Dear God, first Chris Woodward, then Tanyon Sturtze, now Willie Harris and Pete Orr.

    Is there anymore of our crap that anyone else wants?

  21. Stan Kasten has obviously lost his mind.

    I’d take Chris Young over Drew. Yeah, he hit .237 last year, but he slugged .467, and if he can get his strikeouts under control at all he’s going to be fairly awesome.

  22. Last I heard the Yanks were close to a minor league deal with Woodward, did’nt know anything was final though…

  23. yeah, Woodward has the tools to become a decent Mlb player. He’s great defenisively and swings a pretty good stick. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and Im just surprised no one has picked him up just yet…

    oh wait nevermind, he sucks and always will

  24. closers are generally overvalued

    That from a Braves fan is like the pope saying that Jesus is generally overrated! Have you already forgotten about all those blown saves of the Kolbb/Reitsma/your-closer-of-the-day era? Lucky you.

  25. Tom, that just proves my point. Reitsma racked up 12 saves for the Reds down the stretch in 2003, prompting the Braves to trade for this “closer”. Then Danny saved 21 games in ’03 and 39 the next year (making the All-Star team) and the Braves traded for him. Two “proven closers” who weren’t actually very good. You get a guy who saves 39 games, and if he’s not just a lights-out pitcher, odds are he’s more valuable in trade than on the field.

  26. #64

    Ububba – that’s the most accurate statement; I like Valverde and it’s a great pick-up, but considering the ‘Stros still have no starters besides Roy Oswalt and they have picked up 2 overrated offensive players, still can’t take them seriously.

    But, Mac, you do have a very good point about Reitsma and Kolbb.

    Re: Nats and the ex-Braves

    The Dodgers also have a collection of ex-Braves but the difference is they don’t actually suck the way the Nats collection does.

    I met Stan Kasten a few months back at an event here in DC and I can promise, this collection of ex-Braves garbage is not his doing; it’s the doing of the great drunken genius, Jim Bowden.

  27. re: Cutcliffe to Duke

    As I stated yesterday, Duke’s an extremely hard place to win.

    While Cutcliffe may not be a great recruiter, he’s one of the best offensive minds in the country and knows the south, and will be able to recruit enough, to actually turn Duke into a competitive football team.

    And the reason Duke of course will be competitive, is because they are IN the ACC. As I said yesterday, that conference has won team you can reasonably expect to win 9-11 games a year and that’s Virginia Tech, and after that – Clemson, BC, Ga. Tech, Miami, FSU, etc. – it’s a wide open conference where teams are mediocre to decent to bad, year to year.

    It’s what makes say Duke an easier place to win than say Vandy, which is what makes the job Bobby Johnson has done over the last 3 years or so, extremely impressive.

  28. My guess, Mac , is they are probably burning Gillespie’s image onto his lawn in Lexington right now.

    I would trade James for Fuentes; but then again, I don’t like a starting pitcher who can’t get past the 5th inning.

  29. I really don’t get all the Chucky hate. I guess there’s a view that he just can’t finish games (or the 6th inning) or that the league has somehow caught up with him…. But from a 2nd-year guy (first full season IIRC), last year was absolutely fine. If he replicates it this year, we’ll have one of the best rotations in the NL, probably #3 behind Arizona and San Deigo. And maybe the Dodgers, I guess.

  30. Chuck James gave up only 12 homeruns in 380 minor league innings.

    He’ll be good. He had an okay year in his first full year in 2007. Peoples’ expectations were just too high.

  31. I just saw that about Pettitte too. And I noticed that one of the user comments on the article said that he respected Pettitte for admitting he made a mistake. Well, umm… he got caught. Regardless of where you fall on the issues here, I don’t think you can claim he manned up about it.

  32. Manning up I definitely think is the wrong term, as I dont think he would have said anything if his name was not in the Mitchell Report

  33. eric — agreed.

    which is why i don’t respect him for admitting he used after he got caught. i guess it is better than denying it and lying about it though.

  34. someone like joyner who fessed up on his own (at least i’m pretty sure he did, someone please correct me if he was caught instead) that he tried PEDs once but then realized he’d crossed a line and stopped. again, not good that he used, but he’s one of the few that I feel have actually fessed up to trying something.

    and yet i don’t respect canseco for blatantly abusing peds and then openly discussing it.

    i guess i haven’t really put enough thought into where i come down on all of this. i do know that the usage really does bother me (some on here aren’t as affected by it, and i understand that stance) because the integrity of the game has been compromised. that having been said — i don’t know if there’s any good, reliable way to retroactively clean it up.

  35. Trying to retroactively clean up just creates even bigger problems. The best thing to do is to clean up for the future, because we can control what happens in the future.

    Retroactively punishing with PED stuff is the equivalent of Roger Maris’s asterisk: “Well, you have extra help, so you don’t get as much credit as you deserve”. I take the view that, good or bad, baseball has had events and circumstances for particular times that skew statistics.

    The only real solution, to me, is to just write off this period as an era of inflated stats due to bad circumstances and try to get rid of most of those circumstances for future seasons.

  36. If you were Pettite, and his story is true, would you have come out immediately and said “Hey, two weeks ago I took HGH for a couple days, and I feel bad about it.” When I do something wrong, I don’t go telling everyone I know that I did something wrong. I’m sure he thought, “I messed up. I won’t do it again.” But when the Mitchell Report names him, he has to man up and tell people what he did. I think it’s a lot better than Clemens who’s not saying a darn thing.

  37. rob — i agree it’s better than the posturing clemens is doing (unless he actually didn’t use — which none of us seems to believe).

  38. a question for the stat gurus. chuck james put up incredible numbers in the minors (2.09 era, sub 1 whip and about 11 strikeouts/per 9). looking at our pitchers currently in the farm system, we have no one even close to these kind of stats. i know there’s not really a norm when it comes to predicting major league stats, but wouldn’t it be rather foolish to give up on chuck before he even gets expensive. what stats should be taken more seriously, and what stas should be taken with a grain of salt? capellan, reyes, matt harrison…..none of these guys were even close to chuck’s minor league production.

  39. rob — hgh wasn’t a banned substance when pettitte used it. it’s definitely a blurred, grey area (morally), but it wasn’t a banned substance. but i just think that if i were in that situation, as you propose, and i knew this investigation was occurring then i do think i’d confess that i used a substance to help recover from an injury that has since been banned — i think i’d clear the air. maybe even long ago. but definitely before i got named in the report. however, i’m sure his legal council wouldn’t have seen it that way.

    but, again, it’s better to hear him apologize than deny it.

  40. I think someone in Pettite’s case, you’re darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t. If you come out and say you used HGH for a couple days in 2002, then it seems like you may be trying to make it seem less severe than it may seem in the Mitchell Report. Plus, you get associated with the Rafael Palmeiros and Sammy Sosas of this whole situation. Plus, you bring a huge distraction to your season, your team, your family, etc. You also put Cashman, Steinbenner in an awkward situation too. If you wait, like he did, then it looks like you weren’t being forthright. However, Murph said, it is better to apologize than to deny it. At the end of the day, I don’t know what I would have done if I was Pettite. I wonder if I’m the type of person who would have avoided it all together. If it gets you back on the field and with all the implications that that implies for your team, yourself, and your financial situation, how many of us would have taken an unbanned substance?

  41. Rob, I think i would have just not taken the stuff too. but like you said — we’re not in the situation. and i agree — he was in a no win situation after haven taken the hgh… even if it wasn’t banned at the time. and i don’t call the cops to let them know every time i go over the speed limit (i know it’s different, just saying…). i just wonder why he says he felt like it wasn’t right if it wasn’t a banned substance. i don’t know.

    i’ve been discussing it with friends and i have to agree that pettitte’s playing it smart at this point.

    in the end i think i’m just disappointed by the whole deal. i wanted baseball to have that mythical feel to it, and to be able to pass that along to my son (sons?). i’ll still share the love of the game — but i’m more cynical about it.

    i’m also disappointed that the clean guys never made a real push to get testing in a long time ago.

    i guess i should be done on the topic before i morph into full witch hunt mode.

  42. I was thinking about the whole situation tonight. I just came back for Christmas break, and I haven’t picked up a gym membership back, so I was doing push-ups and I thought to myself, “man I’d be much bigger if I could take something.”

    My freshman year I wanted to play baseball at my college. The only problem was that I had labral repair surgery on my right shoulder in June after I graduated from high school. I didn’t heal in time and didn’t get cleared for the season. I didn’t have the money, but what if I took something to help me heal faster? Now, I’m nowhere near the baseball player these guys are, but it’s frustrating that these guys get a leg up.

    I’m finally playing this year (my sophomore year I stayed home during the spring semester), and so it’s not like not getting help has prevented me from playing. At the end of the day, I’m excited about playing college baseball for the first time (even if it’s for a Division II NCCAA team), so I’m not complaining, but it still is a little frustrating.

    As for Andy Pettite, I wish he hadn’t done it, but I like the way he’s handled it.

  43. that’s cool that you play ball. closest i come is hitting softballs with some friends (we don’t even usually have enough to play) for a few months in the summer.

    i imagine the sentiment that you’ve related is similar to how a number of fringe players must have felt. or anyone trying to come back from an injury for that matter.

  44. rob, didn’t mean to say you were a fringe player… just someone trying to make the team.

    i probably still sound like a jerk. didn’t mean to.

    i’ve enjoyed our running conversation this evening. nice diversion from studying for my final on monday.

  45. Hah, the last time I played baseball I played 4 on 4 with friends, we played in a Little League Field in September. I was 6 for 8 with 2 doubles, 4 homeruns, 8 rbi and 2 strike outs.

    It’s not that great, the fence was MAYBE 300ft to dead center.

    The coolest part was, I batted lefty my first 3 AB and hit a homer on the first pitch I saw, then the two doubles.

    Also pitched 6 innings, gave up 5 runs and got 12 k’s, 7 walks and 2 hit batsmen. I was so tired by the last two innings I thought my arm was going to fall off. I think my team won that one like 12 to 5.

    I also fouled a pitch off my left knee that left seam marks from the baseball for like a week.

    It was a blast.

    I understand stats from pick-up games are gay, but you know, whatever.

  46. cutcliffe will NOT be able to recruit well at dook.

    hell, superior supposedly left dook ’cause the academic requirements were too stiff. they were paying him MORE than he got paid his first year at florida. but i digress.

    and if ole ball coach can’t recruit well to dook, what makes ANYONE think that cutcliffe will?

    sure, his teams might win 6 games (on a good year), but dook needs to take its 2500 undergrad enrollment and go the way of georgetown and connecticut in football: division 1 AA…

  47. Alex, Cutcliffe won’t help Duke compete with those “mediocre” and “bad” teams such as Miami and Florida State. I am puzzled by your disdain for the ACC though. The SEC is clearly the best football conference, but I don’t quite get the bravado you express for supporting a conference that your team happens to play in, as if somehow Cutcliffe can come in and have Duke at 8-4 or 9-3 because he is in the ACC. Give it a little more credit than that.

    As a Florida State fan, I will more than admit that the football program has been on the downslide for the past several years as has Miami; although I’ll gladly take those teams between ’87-’01, and put them against any the top SEC programs had to offer. I don’t think there are many on this page who can say they enjoyed their teams winning multiple National Championships during their lifetimes – Mac, Rob C., yes; anyone else? Anyone else alive when UGA won theirs – I was six

    The SEC is a better football conference than the ACC, but, Florida State is a better football program than UGA – maybe not this year and the last but definitely in my lifetime. I am sure that there are several people on this board who disagree, but in the past 15 years FSU has more national championships than UGA has SEC titles.

    If you want to wear a sweatshirt that says “SEC #1” then that’s your choice, but ultimately being a fan means supporting your team and not trying to bolster your own team by the conference they play in. There is a reason this site is called Braves Journal and not NL journal. Sorry, I suppose your disdain for the ACC mirrors mine for teams that play in the SEC who think they are elite by the simple inclusion in that conference. There are two truly elite teams in the SEC – LSU and UF – UGA is not one ’em.

  48. allright CJ……….i knew there must be another ‘nole fan here somewhere……….i wont spend any time defending the ACC because i’m not a conference fan like so many of the SEC freaks, but anyone care to check the FSU record against the SEC powerhouses? the “bad” team last season gave the “Saban nation”blowhards a lesson in humility. the kentucky team who beat up on poor LSU will be the next SEC victim.

  49. Baseball will recover from this; I think most folks who think of this as the dark stain on the game forget a lot of history, which involves, to be sure, segregation (which was the norm in context, but still). My point isn’t that I want to put an asterisk next to Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb, only that I think people will still want to watch baseball and the sport is best served moving forward.

    Now, the problem, as I see it, is that the naming names portion of the Mitchell Report – something it seems Mitchell begrudgingly did, according to his mandate – is dominating a pretty moderate account of the past ten years, and leading the mainstream media to ignore the recs provided in the conclusions. Now we’ve got jerks like Clemens talking about suing baseball when, of course, the point was to help the game move on into a (relatively) PED-free future.

    I just want Spring Training to start. And now it’s snowing again. Bleh.

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