92 thoughts on “Open thread and links for an inexplicable off-day”

  1. Braves fans have long recognized that Chipper is a HOF caliber player. Baseball writers may have been slow to see just how good Chipper has been, but I remember the way the Yanks pitched around him in the 1999 Series–they obviously knew what they were doing.

    Funny thing: just a few years ago a number of statheads were predicting his decline….I just hope that he can stay healthy…

  2. I think any decline predicted for Chipper was more about his ability to stay healthy than any decline in his skills.

  3. well the NY media must respect him, which should be enough to carry him to the HoF, unless they deny him out of spite for destroying their teams’ pitching.

  4. Maybe Chipper is a lesser version of Hank Aaron in the “This-Guy-Is-Actually-An-All-Time-Great” Department.

    I can’t speak for all the baseball writers, but I guarantee you that every baseball fan in this town speaks of Chipper Jones with reverence. When you hear, “Oh, I hate that guy,” you know what he means. Translation: “Chipper terrifies me.”

    He’s no joke & it’s great to see him get the respect he deserves. Keep it up, Larry Wayne—we love you.

    You been to Comerica Park?

  5. (from the previous thread)

    Why would the Brewers be open to trading him? They haven’t given up the season yet. And they wouldn’t just give him away, injuries or no.

    Well, I’d say the Cubs are about to run away with the Central, and even if the Brewers aren’t ready to call it quits yet, they sure might be a month or two from now. Besides, as I said, his contract is up at the end of this year, and if they aren’t going to re-sign him—I actually have no idea what their long-term plans with him are—they might be willing to give up their last half-season of his services for some good prospects. And I’m sure you’re right about the Brew Crew not just giving him away, but I’d be fine with giving up something of value for him.

    I dunno, it just seems like there’s quality pitching to be had out there if we’re willing to give up some prospects, which, considering our apparent depth, I’m in favor of.

  6. If Chipper isn’t a first ballot guy, it is because he murdered his ex-wife and a waiter.

  7. Ububba,

    I’ve been to Comerica, last time was in 2001. I even discovered a way to sneak in without having a ticket because of the way the stadium is built. This discovery was made after my sobriety challenged friend was escorted out after exposing brain in the direction of some Indian fans on what he deemed “Juan Gonzalez D Battery Night.” The ushers were less than impressed and I accompanied my friend out rather than allow him to wander the streets of Detroit in that condition. After “checking the tire” of the ambulance stationed outside the stadium I discovered a way for us to re-enter the premises without being seen. As far as I know it’s still a viable option.

  8. I’ll be there for Friday night’s game. Not sure that I need to break into the park. I’m told my client/pal is taking care of the legal method of entry.

    Anything cool about the stadium/area I just gotta see? I’m staying across the street from the ballpark.

    Only major stadium I’ve ever broken into: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala., 11/13/82.

    Bo vs. Herschel, no TV (due to Auburn probation). Tickets too expensive for a UGA sophomore, so I hopped a barbed-wire fence & outran the security to the top of the stadium.

    And yes, UGA peeps, that was the “Look at the Sugar Falling Out of the Sky!” game

  9. There’s a cool sportsbar around there called Hockeytown Cafe or Hockeytown Bar something like that. Its usually very crowded on game days but the Redwings have a good chance of being in the Stanley Cup Finals. If they make it they’ll be the higher seed and would play at home so they may be playing while you’re out there. It would be a fun atmosphere for sure. I can only assume its still there and still cool, I haven’t been in Detroit in about 4 years.

  10. Thanks for the link, Mac. Unfortunately, the guy who interviewed me was more taken with my Tigers youth than my Braves maturity, but I did manage to mention that Maddux is my favorite player.

    Didn’t mention about how my death wish for JS made it into his book, but that’s probably for the best . . .

  11. Dix,
    Thanks. The hockey reality (which I don’t mind at all) did cross my mind.

    Enjoyed the interview.

  12. I think the reason Chipper has been somewhat underrated is that he has not had many “big” home run seasons. The assumption is that anything less than 500 homers means the guy is not a big time hitter. If he had a 50 home run year like Andruw, he would have garnered more attention. Just think, a couple of years ago people were talking about Andruw being a likely, if not definite, Hall of Famer but they were not saying that about Chipper even though Chipper has been the far superior player even factoring in Andruw’s defense. It’s all about the home runs. Chipper perhaps doesn’t have Andruw’s power (or maybe his unwillingness to do anythign but swing for home runs)but he has always been a much better hitter; his lack of spectacular seasons has hurt his perception.

  13. Well, until last year Andruw had a much better shot at both of the magic numbers, 500 and 3000, than Chipper. When I wrote the previews for 2007, I thought it possible, even likely, that Andruw would pass Chipper on the franchise home run list during the season — he was only 15 behind Chipper and 29 behind Murphy going in, and I figured that they’d all be about tied at some point. But Andruw actually had a much better shot at 3000 hits, largely because of career start and playing time.

  14. Mac,

    That just shows how meaningless numbers like that are in some cases. Chipper has always been a much better hitter but, as you noted, Andruw started earlier and accumulated more numbers. I have nothing against Andruw, but I really would not want him to get to 3000/500 if Chipper doesn’t because he just is not as good a player.

  15. I just sponsored his page in the name of bravesjournal.us
    Hope he doesn’t make us look bad. :)

  16. Phil Stockman is a horse. He has had injury problems, but, if healthy, he is Mark Wohlers with better control. He could be like K-Rod 2002.

    I suspect we could deal a marginal Major League starter and 2 young relievers for a pitcher. If Sheets is healthy when the Brewers shut it down, then he does make lots of sense. Also, Harden could make sense, but Beane will want too much relative to Harden’s health history and they look to be in it to the end.

  17. I think the Sheets idea is a good one, depending on who the Brewers want in return: one would think they’re set for starters, if that’s ever the case. It’s worth a shot, since the Braves, apparently, are in “win now” mode.

  18. Oh my God, how could we have traded him for Teixeira? What were we thinking? A proven Major League power hitter for a guy who hasn’t proven anything and has now thrown a no-hitter at AA? John Scheurholz is a complete moron! If only we had a time machine so that we could travel back in time and undo that horrible, horrible deal that got us a proven Major League power hitter who, even while playing terribly this year, has provided tons of protection for Chipper in the lineup. Why does anybody ever trade prospects? They’re so much more valuable than actual proven talent!

    Sorry, I guess I’m feeling a little punchy this afternoon, heh…

  19. AAR,
    Nice bit of analysis there & thanks for that.

    I look at it like this:

    If our pitcher bunts almost every time he comes up with runners on first and/or second & less than 2 outs, I’m fine with it. We suck at it & we should be better, but I’m not going to go crazy about bunting there.

    But having one of your very best hitters (Yunel) bunt in the 1st inning after the leadoff batter reaches is just plain goofy.

    A bad idea that we’re also bad at executing—sounds like a familiar situation.

    Coming into the Mets series, here’s an interesting story/column on Willie Randolph from Ian O’Connor, who always seems to get access at critical times:

  20. Hey the protection agrument! I thought that thing went extinct. There’s a golden oldy.

  21. So what’s the over/under on Andruw being Dale Murphy (done after the Braves and not lasting as long as he “should’ve”). Does he retire in the next 2 years?

  22. #23 – I guess Pat Corrales was the “keep-Bobby-sane-know-how-to-bunt” element of the coaching staff.

  23. Considering Matt Harrison was arguably the fourth best Brave in that trade (Salty, Andrus, the young fireballer who’s name escapes me, Harrison) and it’s now painfully obvious we’re not going to resign Tex, yes it sucks. We get two picks and a Tex rental for four players. I think it’s Drew-Wainwright version 2.

  24. Netfali Feliz was the other highly-regarded prospect, DJ, and the same thought (Harrison’s only the 4th-best of what we gave up) occurred to me, although I still have trouble working up too negative a reaction to the Teix trade. I think it was sound.

  25. Also, Feliz is on a 20 consecutive scoreless IP streak.

    I would do the Wainwright-Drew trade again.

  26. I was going through some of Locke’s game logs. Yea, Monday, nothing to do and so on.
    He has been bad, but I think part of his control problem is the defence behind him. He gets abnormal number of errors and infield singles allowed, and then tries to strike everybody out.

    This is a worrying trend for his development. And it is affecting other pitchers on the staff too.
    They either need to fix the infield or get a good fielding instructow down in Rome.

  27. Yeah, the Tex trade is looking kind of bad now. It’s starting to look like the Rangers are going to get 4 players who at least see the majors. Salty already has, Harrison will almost assuredly get a shot, Andrus is looking like he’ll hit enough to at least be a bench player (and with his glove, he could have a long career as a Neifi), and Feliz’s floor is starting to look like “fire-balling reliever”. So that’s four guys with MLB floors. If even one of them (particularly Salty, Feliz, or Andrus) comes close to their upside, this could look very ugly in a couple years’ time.

    I recall at the time saying something like, “No way we’ll trade both Salty AND Andrus” and then being floored when they both went IN ADDITION TO Feliz.

    Oh well. It’ll be easier to swallow when Tex starts hitting again, especially if this gets us a run into the playoffs.

  28. To change the subject to Braves prospects will in the organization: Brandon Jones has been raking lately, shaking off a slow start. He’s 13 for his last 35 with two HRs and 5 doubles. He’s still been striking out a bit (8Ks, 4BB over the same span), but it’s good to see his bat coming back alive. He could turn into a useful call-up should any of our OFs get hurt. And I’ve got to say, with Infante back, and probably rather have Jones up here than Blanco.

  29. Salty was blocked by McCann and wasn’t going to be a first basemen. Andrus was blocked by several hundred other middle infielders.

    I was sad to see Harrison go.. we need good starting pitching. But heck, the trade worked out. Tex kicked serious ass last year. It certainly wasn’t his fault we didn’t make the post season. This year he is slow starting, but no reason to not believe he won’t come around.

    People who analyze baseball players for a living are very good at it. Especially for the Braves orginaztion. They know things we don’t. All we can do is look at stats and 2nd guess. Major League GM’s do not have a crystal ball.

  30. I’m not second-guessing. I said I was shocked that we gave that much up at the time the deal was made. I’m just saying that it could really look ugly for us in a couple years’ time.

  31. Wow, ububba, Newcleus, The Egyptian Lover and Peanut Butter Wolf on the same bill?!? Nice.

  32. has provided tons of protection for Chipper in the lineup.

    Protection is bunk.

    I didn’t like the Tex-Salty trade then and I still don’t. Tex was very good last year, but we’re pretty far into the year for the “off to a slow start” business.

  33. I’m not second-guessing. I said I was shocked that we gave that much up at the time the deal was made. I’m just saying that it could really look ugly for us in a couple years’ time.

    I’m on the record as first guessing the trade, but I’m not too worked up about it these days. We desperately needed a first baseman, we got a pretty good one and paid a pretty good price. At least the Tex rental lasted a year and a half.

    Hopefully he follows Andruw’s trend and continues fading with his new team next season.

    Ditto what Frank said about protection.

  34. I might have some respect for him if he had to stand in the batter’s box a few times in the game.

  35. our luck Bobby would’ve let him hit for himself in the 8th, he would’ve gotten a single, and Bobby would then pinch run for him

  36. I remember Lester and Hansen–who was the other guy in the offer, Mac? Or was it Lester OR Hansen and two other guys?

  37. Protection is bunk? Tell that to Bonds when he was going through his home run barrage. If he had a Tex and another power hitter (in a perfect world for the Giants, a Miguel Cabrera type at 3B). I don’t think its all that important, but in some instances through a game you pick your battles and who you’d rather face with two outs, game on the line and a runner on third for instance.

  38. It was Hansen and Crisp. The Braves wanted Lester included and that’s when talks died. Boston never offered that deal.

  39. I believe that Harrison walked 6 batters so I am less impressed than others by this achievement. I had no problems trading Harrison as I felt he had hit a plateau at Mississippi.

    That said, its hard for me to see that the diastrous trade for Tex was even close to Wainwright-Drew (which was a bad trade in my view). The Braves did not even get better: they had a losing record in 2007 after acquiring Tex and Mahay.

    We gave up 2-3 players that have the chance to become All Stars along with Harrison and Beau Jones–both of whom might have careers in the majors. The real problem with this trade was its opportunity cost.

    Instead of trading for mighty Tex, the Braves could have used those players to deal for a quality starter–which was their main need. It does not even matter whether those players become All Stars or major league regulars, because barring injuries they would have had trading value based upon their ‘high ceiling’ potentials. Adding Tex did little if anything to make the Braves more competitive; instead, they lost the a lot of trading chips which would have been useful last winter.

    I thought at the time that the only way the deal seemed worth it was if the Braves could sign Tex to a long term contract. Of course at this point in the season mighty Tex, who at 28 should be in his prime, has not done a lot and while I believe that he will ultimately have a good season, I am not sure he is worth a Boras style contract. Ironically, I am worried that if he doesn’t starting hitting, not even the Yankees will want him at that price.

    Wainwright-Drew? It still early but I would say that its closer to Barker-Butler/Jacoby….

  40. Why do people complain about Wainwright – Drew?
    We gave up a prospect + Burger King and Headcase #1 for an AllStar OF, who should have won the MVP that year, and won us the division.
    And we also got a very good platoons eason out of Marrero. Not every trade is a swindle. Both teams got value.

    The Tex trade : we have given up multiple prospects. If 3 of them turn out to be big league regular, big whoop. They were blocked in ATL anyway. Its if 2 of them turn out to eb All Star material do we rue the trade.
    And worst case, we get high draft picks, which should easily replace prospects like Harrison.

  41. Yeah, I have Jon Lester on my fantasy team. I knew it would pay off eventually. Thatta boy Jon!

  42. url,
    Yeah, a real retro-electro thing going on there. Should be fun.

    With the festival, plus the Pistons & Red Wings hosting playoff games, this weekend should be a Motor City Madhouse, to quote The Nuge.

  43. Stephen makes two great points:

    1) Was Tex the real need? Did we really need a power-hitting first baseman when we really needed starting pitching. I don’t really know what the market was for SPs at that time, but that is a valid point. Our hitting was one of the best in the league, and Tex had a monster second half, but our need was pitching.

    2) It doesn’t matter if those guys were blocked. They had trading value. You gotta look at them as chips for trading. If they have value, then their expendability makes them trading pieces because they’re blocked.

    With that said, I was okay with the trade. The trade meant that we were going to try to slug our way to the division lead. Tex did his part, and so the trade, in a vacuum, worked. Of course, we aren’t in a vacuum, and our pitching was just too bad to compete. It was for that reason that I was ok with taking a chance on Dotel for Davies, but I know some people still don’t agree with me on that one.

    Wainwright’s on my fantasy team, so I’m selfishly happy he’s panned out (man fantasy baseball ruins the game), but I’m sad he’s not doing it in Atlanta. You gotta look at the context though. Wainwright, at the time, was a good prospect, just like Jung Bong, Bubba Nelson, Odalis Perez, etc. Burger King and Jason Marquis were very expendable. What we got in return was a gem. Drew had his first really big, full season, and we had just lost Sheffield, so we needed someone big. And man, he was big, and Marrero gave us good help off the bench. So to me, the Drew-Wainwright trade (which really was the Drew-Marquis+some stuff trade at the time) is more digestible, IMO.

    Wow, the conversations that off-days create…

  44. A feel-good story about Mark Kotsay in the AJC. As I’ve heard before, everybody likes him.
    And now that I’ve found that he’s a music fan with eclectic tastes, I like him more, too. (Hey, finding fellow techno fans ain’t easy.)


  45. Rob, in answering your question on whether Tex is needed…if Chipper is not 36 but younger, then my answer is no. However, Chipper is not getting any younger, and who knows when Chipper’s body is starting to break up like Smoltzie? We need Tex to anchor the lineup like how Huddy is backing up Smoltzie. Of course, the Tex I have in mind is the awesome Tex and not the awful Tex we have been seeing the past two months. But I hope you get my point.

    If Chipper is out, can the offense survive with only McCann, Frenchy, KJ, and Yunel? No way.

  46. The reason we got Tex last summer was because we were compensating for no impact starting pitchers being available. We had Scott Thorman attempting to play first base.

  47. Besides, the trade for Tex is also for this year as well. Wren replaced Andruw and Thorman with Tex and Kotsay. Yes, it costed significant talents, but I think it’s worth it now that we see what Kotsay can do when he is healthy and the fact that we were trading from our surplus position.

  48. Stephen, just when we start monitoring Scott Diamond, he returned to earth tonight…at the meantime, Cole Rohrbough is back!!!

    Four scoreless innings with 3 hits, no walk, and six Ks. This kid is supposed to be even better than Hanson, we will wait and see.

    Stu, there is no way the Braves shoud trade away this kid for Blanton. No chance.

  49. Big Techno fan here Ububba, but I’m not sure what we listen to in Florida is the same you here up there…..But my techno hey-days were in the mid-ninties…ah, the memories….

  50. Not sure if it’s been posted already.
    Looks like we caught a break:

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy will go on the 15-day disabled list with swelling and a strained muscle in his pitching elbow.

  51. kc,
    I continue to disagree with you. You have to trade value to get value. Blanton is a proven 2/3 starter pitcher who eats a boatload of quality innings. Apart from Teheran, there are no pitchers in our system I wouldn’t trade for Blanton.

  52. Stu,

    If you mean one up for any minor league pitcher (or Major League other than Hudson), I agree on taking Blanton. The problem is that it probably wouldn’t be one for one.

    Charlie Morton is the most ready prospect we have as a starter. His likelihood of ever being as good as Blanton is probably 30% or less. The lower you go even with the “high ceiling” guys, that percetnage drops. Teheran certainly COULD BE a Josh Beckett, but he may never make to MLB at all.

    I, however, don’t see Oakland dropping out of the race and dumping players.

    We need to look at Oswalt, Sheets, Peavy (guys whose teams are out of it or almost certainly soon will be).

  53. Good link Ububba.

    I think Kotsay has been everything and more this year. The only knock is the double plays, but he has made up for it.

  54. There is a lot of revisionist history here. Lots of people were saying the Braves should trade for Harang or someone like that last year, but those guys weren’t available. No one was trading reliable starting pitching. The other alternative was to try to improve the offense–which had a major hole at first base–and try to outslug some teams. It didn’t work but it’s not clear that keeping those guys would have been any better. Tex was the one guy out there that was going to be available for the kind of prospects the Braves had–a first baseman, Boras client who had no intention of resigning with Texas. The real alternative was, most likely, making no significant move last summer and what would people be saying about that? And, to me, if you are going to trade top prospects, trade them for the best player available, not some ok pitcher. Blanton’s not worth the price; Harang might be but the Reds certainly weren’t going to trade pitching.

    Yes, these guys look good at this point but, other than Salty, not one has played in the major leagues. Obviously, the fly in the ointment is that Tex is going to leave after this year and he is struggling. But no one was saying last summer that the Braves should just throw in the towel and build for the future.

  55. Yeah, Bronson Arroyo was our prime SP target at last year’s trade deadline. As in favor of getting him as I was at the time, I’m awfully glad that didn’t happen. If Arroyo’s the best available arm, the market ain’t good.

    Yeah, I know it wouldn’t be one for one, but including Rohrbaugh in the deal lessens the value of the other pieces you’d have to throw in. And I don’t think the A’s will really be in it by the end of July. Also, I think Beane is perpetually looking to move Blanton for the best deal.

  56. I would not call it revisionist history. There were a number of us who questioned the trade for Tex last summer because we recognized that it was starting pitching which was the problem.

    In addition, we will probably never know what might have happened had the Braves tried to get a quality starter by offering the 5 or related prospects. Similarly, the Braves might have able to do more than re-sign Tom Glavine had they had the trading chips to go after the likes of Bedard or Haren.

    Let me add that it was not Tex’s fault (or Mahay’s) that the Braves did not improve, but actually lost more games after he was acquired. In any event, I hope that Tex gets it turned around and be the star that he was during the last two months of 2007.

    KC–With respect to Rohrbough, I expect him in Myrtle Beach before July and I would not be happy if the Braves traded him this summer. My gut (as well as last year’s stats) tell me that he is a keeper….

  57. Stephen,

    I acknowledge your point that several people did question the trade at the time. But your assumption is that JS did not try to offer the prospects around for starting pitching and we really don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if it would have been possible to get Bedard or Haren during the season for this package–I suspect not. If not, then holding on to the prospects would have meant essentially writing off the rest of 2007. That would not have sat well with Braves fans.

  58. I like Eminem just fine, but he was way wrong about that. The American version of techno was born in his hometown.

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