Cardinals 8, Braves 3/Teixeira trade reaction

ESPN – Cardinals vs. Braves – Box Score – July 29, 2008

Hi, I’m back. I’ll deal with Teixeira in a bit. Without him, the Braves fielded a joke lineup, Kotsay hitting third and Norton cleanup. But Campillo did a good job, and the Braves got two runs in the second, Francoeur (who sucks) singling home KJ and coming home on a single by Blanco. It was 2-1 through five, but obviously the Braves weren’t going to do much offensively. Campillo finally cracked in the sixth, giving up a solo homer to Pujols.

In the eighth, Soriano gave up a leadoff double to Pujols. He got the next man, but then Pujols stole third and Corky, who is a terrible, terrible excuse for a ballplayer, threw the ball away and allowed the go-ahead run to score. I hate him. Bobby, quite properly, brought in Gonzalez to pitch the ninth, but he had nothing. It was 6-3 when he was pulled for, of course, Boyer, who gave up a hit to allow two more runs to score. Blanco scored a meaningless run in the ninth on a groundout.

Now, the trade. I don’t like it. Casey Kotchman was a productive hitter in 2007, but in 2008 his walk rate has plunged, and his on-base percentage is only .327. That’s terrible. Now, the Angels are an overly aggressive team, and it’s possible that in another environment he’ll bounce back to something resembling the hitter who had a .377 OBP last year. I like him better than Chad Tracy, but it’s primarily for financial reasons.

I had never even heard of Stephen Marek before this trade, and now that I have I don’t know anything about him except that he used to be a starter and now he has a nice strikeout ratio as a reliever. As I stated before, I was against trading Teixeira for spare parts, but that’s basically what they got. My initial grade is D, but we shall see.

I can’t believe this is all they could get.

184 thoughts on “Cardinals 8, Braves 3/Teixeira trade reaction”

  1. Did anyone else notice that, after we accepted the Angels’ trade offer, the D-Backs almost immediately sent Micah Owings back to the minors? It seems clear that the only reason he started last night was to showcase him for us. That pretty much failed spectacularly. Glad we didn’t fall for that.

    I really don’t see Kotchman as a spare part, since he will be our everyday first baseman, although I guess it depends on how you define the term. It’s true that Tex was a showcase player, which Kotchman won’t be. But my question to you, Mac, is what would you have done instead? There was no way we were going to sign him, and at least now we get a starting first baseman, whereas if we hadn’t pulled the trigger, we would’ve been left with nothing but two draft picks that, even if they had panned out (relatively unlikely in the grand scheme of things), wouldn’t have done so for several years.

  2. Either the Braves like Kotchman too much or they like Tracy too little…but they are essentially the same. I really wonder what the Dbacks offered for Tex…

  3. Reposted from end of last thread:

    As I said last night, our philosophy when it comes to free agents is inane and stupid and makes us look like a second-class organization. This is exhibit 1A of that. I get the feeling that Tex never would’ve agreed to an extension and if we wanted him, we would’ve had to play on the open market, but the least we could’ve done is negotiate a bit. Isn’t it pretty standard practice to not accept the first offer in pretty much all negotiating situations?

    I also think that a lot of people in this organization don’t want to negotiate or even communicate with Boras ever, not so much as a fax if they can help it. If so, this will wind up being really destructive if it’s not changed soon. Because like it or not, he’s probably the preeminent agent among baseball players right now, and therefore represents a lot of players. To just totally ignore the most popular agent in the industry is plain stupid. Do we think that it’ll just never come up again? For instance, as DOB pointed out in his blog at some point tonight, guess who Jair Jurrjens’ agent is?

  4. I also think that a lot of people in this organization don’t want to negotiate or even communicate with Boras ever, not so much as a fax if they can help it. If so, this will wind up being really destructive if it’s not changed soon.

    And so they traded for Tex because…

    As I stated before, I was against trading Teixeira for spare parts, but that’s basically what they got. My initial grade is D, but we shall see.

    I think this is a problem with expectations. He’s a two month rental – that’s it. A good two month rental, but still a two month rental. Nobody is going to give up a franchise type player for a two month rental and the opportunity for Boras to jerk you around.

    I had low expectation for this deal – mostly because I hold a low opinion of the front office. We got a starting firstbaseman (for an organization with no other options, that good) and a lottery ticket. I’m satisfied.

  5. I can’t believe people are so down on this trade. Did people really believe elite prospects or players were coming back for only two guaranteed months of Mark Teixeira? There’s no way. Draft picks are way too unpredictable and we’re lucky to have gotten what we did for what was a very small market for Tex.

    We’ve got a solid first baseman through 2011 who beats the hell out of Scott Thorman and a live arm who could see some work in our bullpen in the near future.

    This is what happens when people dream and listen to the media ramble about trade possibilities. There’s no solid reason to hate this trade.

  6. For the Poll Thing–you could almost people to evaluate Teixeria trade #1 and now #2….

  7. I think that Wren lost his nerve: the Braves could have had more. Casey Kotchman is better than a ‘spare part’–he can make a solid contribution (or better) to the Braves for the next three years–but Marek is unimpressive. The Braves have many pitchers with his range of ability, so he fits Mac’s description as a ‘spare part’.

    If it is true that the Angels really had the hots for Tex, then Wren might have waited for a day and asked for more: the Braves were probably not going to get Adenhart (who has problems of his own), but we could have either had a better player or players.

    More than anything else, despite some early succeses I think that Wren still has to learn the art of the deal….

  8. I like the trade, and very much so. Kotchman is a very good first baseman with the potential to get better. His numbers are already more than okay, he’ll be under control for three years, plays extremely good defense (okay, it’s 1B, but every Braves fan should know that defense at 1B is underrated) and never strikes out (Braves fans will appreciate that, too). The only thing that concerns me a bit is that he had health issues in the past.

    The pitcher is just a throw-in, but could become more than that. Nobody knows that now, but I like Kotch for Tex even if Marek never makes it to Atlanta.

    I can’t believe this is all they could get.

    Why not? Do you believe Wren had a better offer and declined it? What evidence is there for that? And why would he do so? And – again – it’s not like they traded Jennifer Aniston for Roseanne.

  9. Kotchman would be fine if the Braves didn’t have a huge power outage in the outfield already. Now their outfield woes are just magnified and Wren has a lot more work to do to put together a quality offense for next season. I have to think Shuerholz could have gotten a better package for Teixeira than this. I hope Wren can find some better prospects when he deals Ohman and Kotsay.

  10. While Kotchman isn’t going to be an all-star, he’s a serviceable first baseman, and what we’ve been in need of is serviceable guys who are cheap (as Diaz was the last couple years, and as he was hoped to be this year), to allow us a bit of fiscal flexibility (to sign guys like McCann to extra years before they get too expensive). I don’t think we’ll be going after marquee free agents anytime soon, but having serviceable major league level players up and down the line-up is going to give you the pieces to trade for better guys by throwing in a few prospects, OR by allowing the team a few million extra to sign a free agent to fill any given position. At least that’s what I’m thinking this morning…

  11. I think that having Boras as Texs’ agent actually hurt his trade value here.
    The dude is going to be a Yankee next year, the new Steinbrenner will shell out the top dollar and put him in pinstripes.
    Yanks are getting old and need help and he fits the bill for them, Boras chases the top dollar and it will be from NY.
    I believe that LAA and everyone else knew this so he is a true 2 month rental payer, no hometown discounts for this Tex and Boras.

  12. As oldtimer pointed out, getting anything truly useful out of Tex is all you can expect for a 2 month rental. Everybody knows he’s going to test free agency so the Angels really are getting a 2 month rental, and giving up a major league ball player for it. Not to mention the lack of negotiable position the Braves were in, everybody knew how hurt we are, and with Chipper and Huddy both going down (and McCann for at least a few games)…

    It’s not an A+ trade, we didn’t trade crap for gold, but I think it’s a decent trade all things considered.

    Now, for the screwball trade question… do we have anything we could throw away to the Padres and get Maddux back for the last part of the season? I’m not thinking of winning with him, just think his influence on all our young pitchers would be a good thing for the future (and would be nice to have him retire as a Brave… assuming he’s ready to retire). I would almost think he would enjoy the idea of pitching for a few different teams the next couple years as an erstwhile player-pitching-coach.

  13. Kotchman would be fine if the Braves didn’t have a huge power outage in the outfield already.

    Who exactly was available to fix this problem?

    I have to think Shuerholz could have gotten a better package for Teixeira than this.

    Again, why do you have to think that? What evidence is there? Why would Wren turn down a better deal?

    This is what happens when people dream and listen to the media ramble about trade possibilities. There’s no solid reason to hate this trade.


  14. I didn’t say it, but the reason that Schuerholz would have gotten more is that he’s John Schuerholz, and one of the great traders of his time. He would have figured out a way to, at least, get another pitcher in the deal, or thrown in somebody who won’t do anything to get Rivera, or taken the deal to the Yankees or the Red Sox and made them bid to keep Teixeira away from a team they’ll have to beat in the playoffs.

    A .327 OBP is awful. I wouldn’t want a shortstop with a .327 OBP, and a first baseman? No way.

  15. Charles, I love Maddux as much as the next guy, but it would make little sense for the Braves to trade for him right now. And it would make little sense for Maddux to approve such a trade. If I were him, I would try to end up with more wins for my career than Clemens. He probably won’t get there with the Padres, but he sure as hell won’t get there with the 2008 Braves.

  16. Mac, I think the key way to think of this is not that we traded Tex for Kotchman, but that we traded Tex so we had Kotchman at first in 09 & 10 instead of Thorman.

    Kotchman doesn’t look good compared to Tex. Kotchman looks GREAT compared to Thorman though.

    While we still have an outfield to deal with, we don’t have an offensive black hole at first base to deal with for the next couple years as well. We still have an outfield to put together for the next few years, but we also still have money available to do so since we’re not spending it on Tex (and I think we showed this year that it’s more trouble dealing with three black-holes in the line-up than it is to deal with a few merely good enoughs).

  17. Tom, as bad as we’ve been for our pitchers this year, I think we’d have a better shot than what the Padres did for him. Well, maybe we would’ve had a better shot while Chipper was healthy and we still had Tex… but even in our current situation I think we’re a better offensive club than than the Pads.

    Also, wasn’t suggesting we give up anything particularly GOOD, just a few spare parts they might be able to use in the future. I’m just looking at it is A) bringing in his knowledge and influence on our young pitchers, B) chewing up innings and letting us shut Jurjjens down before we blow out his arm C) Nostalgia… and realizing it would never happen, but as we’ve not got a post season to think about, may as well make wild speculations of how something COULD work… and yes, I’m visiting family in upstate NY right now too so it makes it much easier to NOT think about the Mets leading the division.

  18. It may safely be said that the deal for first baseman Casey Kotchman and double-A right-hander Stephen Marek who isn’t major league ready is 1:1.

    At least Angels have everything to gain and nothing to lose. For 2 months rental and keeping their lineup. They already have Kendry Morales who is proven 1B which will be callup in the minor if can’t sign with TRex (I admit he is somewhat overrated hitter and isn’t worthy of 20M / year) during the offseason. Morever they can get two draft picks. I think they put up a good defence. They clearly will go the playoff. That look like they devote their best efforts to playoff. Personally I like TRex and I am a fan of Angels. Good for him. Congratulations, TRex. It’s early yet but I assume they are close to champion. I will watch games more often.

    Whereas the Braves is not in a position to say anything about it. I say a little disappointed. Hope Wren wasn’t a dumass. Angels’analyst says Kotchman’s swing is not a 30 HR potential. We’ll see. Unfortunately I guess Kotchman will be miss a chance going a playoff. Poor Kotchman.!!!!!!Business is hard field. That’s the way it goes.

  19. Steve Phillips (I know, I know) just said he wouldn’t have made this deal if he were the ANGELS. He actually made some good points. He said Boras is looking for 23 million a year for 8 years and that Kotchman makes 1.5 and is under contract for another 3 years, and that Tex is not worth 20 mil a year more than Kotchman. He also said that the Angels have some young players they need to resign and if they do sign Tex they won’t be able to do that, while pointing out that Tex isn’t a 20 million dollar player. Interesting points from somebody I never agree with.

  20. The .327 isn’t good, obviously, but in the context of Kotchman’s career it looks like a fluke. He’s almost always been a guy you could add .075 to his batting average to get his OBP, which is pretty good. He’s shown the ability to hit for average and take walks, he’s still young, still affordable. And the pitcher has good HR and K numbers in his first year as a AAA reliever, so he has a chance to contribute fairly soon also. I’m not happy to be a seller, but I’m satisfied with this trade. Moving on.

  21. I think the best we could hope for would have been an additional player of Marek’s ability thrown in the deal.

    Obviously speculating, I believe the best one could expect is one significany player or one top prospect in the Tex deal. By choosing to fill an immediate need, Wren probably eliminated the possibility of receiving an Adenhart or Wood in the deal. It is good in that our remaining resources will go to fixing one less hole next year.

  22. I don’t mind the deal either. I think this was the best possible major league ready first baseman we were going to be able to get. Sure our power numbers will be down, but we aren’t going anywhere this season. In the winter we have to get a big time bat that can play in the outfield.

    Plus, I bet we move Kotsay and Ohman, if not more.

  23. Mac, During the halcyon days of John Schuerholz fleecing teams for great players the economics of baseball were very different. A few haves and a lot of have nots. Now with more revenue sharing and economic parity there are very few of the straight up salary dumps that occured 6 or 8 years ago. Now the impetus to trade is proven performance for high value prospects or maybe a regular with potential. In that context I would much rather have Kotchman than Chad Tracy (NO WAY the D backs trade Conner Jackson) Kotchman is cheaper with a higher upside. Yeah a .327 OBP is frighteninly Francouer like but his larger body of work suggests that this is an outlier season. I give Wren an A. He took the best package available.

  24. I gave the trade a B. Again, what or who did you expect we’d get? I think Wren did well, sure I would have liked to see another player included but I like Kotchman okay, a young guy, peaking in a couple of years time when he’s probably still with the Braves. Given his low SO numbers, I also think that his OBP should improve or go back to pre 2008 levels. So, no major worries anymore about OF, now go, Frank, go, work on the outfield!

  25. Exactly, Parish.
    Angels fans are happy they can keep Adenhart or Wood in the deal.

  26. I am completely torn about this trade.

    On one hand, the market simply wasn’t there. Last year, it seemed everyone wanted Teixeira and that may have partially been due to the fact that you could control him the rest of 2007 and have him 2008. (This year, unless you are the Yankees or Orioles, the Angels are literally going to have Tex just 2 months now before he departs in November back to the east coast).

    We all knew he was gone and I sat here wondering just how the Braves were going to be able to find a solid, under contract and affordable first baseman – they did that by aquiring Casey Kotchman and Mac, despite your moaning about his OBP this year, he has a better track record and I still say a massive upgrade on Scott Thorman.

    Then again, AAR, Mac or Stu would be a massive upgrade at first over Thor!

    I have no clue if this pitcher will be any good. Though I’m sure if Bobby Cox is still the manager in 2009, he’ll wear this guy’s arm out by May 15th. The proof is in the pudding.

    But the flipside is that Schuerholz always got more than Wren and I really believe JS would have gotten an extra 2 prospects back. Or he would have somehow pulled off Conor Jackson. Either way, while it’s hard to be too angry about this deal considering we are A) out of it and B) Tex is leaving, JS would have done better.

    Unless Kotchman is a stud in 2009 and this pitcher turns out to be a nice little find, Wren’s still going to have to live off the Renty-Jurrgjens deal as the feather in his cap. (and that, at least, has worked out nicely).

  27. It’s an ok deal. I never expected to get much for two months. It might have been better if Giambi had been struggling. I sort of agree with Phillips although I do think Teixera is a much better player than Kotchman. (I think Phillips analysis of Teixera is way off base–his only evidence was his batting average and home runs. I think Teixera is an elite player (even though he has never hit 50 home runs)and is worth a lot more than Kotchman.) But the playoffs are a crapshoot and there is no guarantee that Tex will make that much difference in a small number of games.

    One thing people should remember is that Kotchman will be moving from the AL to the NL. That might help his production right there.

    JS might have done better and he might not have. It’s pure speculation. My preference would have been to try to resign Teixera although I am skeptical about his statements that he was willing to deal. But this organization simply doesn’t want to deal with free agents. To say that, we made an offer in spring training, they turned it down, so that’s it, is sort of crazy. But that’s how this crew works–they think players should WANT to play for the Atlanta Braves.

    I just know it’s going to be a long two months and maybe a long next several years. Maybe Kotchman will blossom under the tutelage of Terry Pendleton. :)

  28. Kotchman, at his best, is a Wally Joyner type player. Teixeira, at his best, is an Eddie Murray type player. I’ll take Murray, thank you.

  29. I think everyone is missing the point. Trades arent suppose to turn out to being Renty- Jurrjens type deals. Trades are made to help both teams and not to have one team get destroyed in the deal. I think this trade helps both teams and therefore its probably going to be a good deal. Kotchman gives us a reliable 1B for years to come and free’s up salary room for us. We got a another pitcher in return who can possibly come in and give us some quality innings from the pen. The on the other hand got a huge bat for a postseason run. We were’nt going anywhere and I think these two are better than the picks we would’ve received otherwise. Maybe Wren could’ve gotten more, but Im sure he’s been talking to plenty of teams for weeks trying to judge what the return would be. We dont know what any offers were, but its far better than the Tracy?Owings offer in my mind

  30. there are too many holes in this team (like more starters, whole new outfield, new backup catcher, and more relievers) to be paying Tex 20mil+ for 6 to 7 years

    I’ll take Kotchman/Bay/another player for $20 mil over Tex at the same price

  31. To just blindly say that Schuerholz would have done better is utter nonsense. When was the last time the Braves were sellers? Yeah Mac, Teixiera is a way better player than Kotchman but it was pretty evident that Tex was gonna be a Brave for only two more months so why not get something for him while we can? Alex, how the heck can you say that Schuerholz would have gotten Jackson when it was plain that the Dbacks wanted to hold on to their BEST hitter? Dang.

    Time for everyone to take their reality pills. Wren got something way better than two draft picks, filled a hole at 1b with a potentially above average player, got another arm (you can never have too much pitching, old axiom number 1) and apparently recieved some money in the deal too. Not a bad days work considering that everyone knew the Braves had to sell and were done for 2008.

  32. I think Mark Grace is a better comp than Joyner for “Kotchman at his best,” although i think he’ll hit for more power than either. He’s the kind of player who has a lot of value as long as you’re not overpaying him – unless, of course, the .327 OBP is here to stay (and i agree with sansho1 @ 28 that it looks like an aberration).

    And no, he’s not Tex. But he’s also going to be $15-20m cheaper over each of the next 3 years. I really don’t think this was a bad deal.

  33. Joyner hit 34 homers in 1987. I’ll eat my hat if Kotchman matches that in a Braves uniform. He had 204 career homers; I doubt Kotchman will.

    I don’t think that the differences between Grace and Joyner (who show up on each other’s comp lists) are that great. Grace was a better player when he was older, Joyner when he was younger.

  34. for what its worth…

    According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates are deep into talks with the Rays and other teams about left fielder Jason Bay. However, no “truly elite prospect” has been offered yet, and the chances are better than 50-50 that Bay stays. And who would move to right field for the Rays – Bay or Carl Crawford? The Braves are considered out of the mix.

  35. Who is going to be the cleanup hitter for the rest of the year? Will it be Chipper with Kotsay in the 3 hole?

    Tex will NOT be an Angel in ’09. They can’t sign him and their closer F-Rod, who will be a free agent. f-Rod make $10 million/year this year, and will command a raise to $15 milion or more next year. he has 44 saves already, so he’s the MVP of that team, if not the league.

    It would have been nice to get more, but we weren’t winning with Tex, so we might as well not be winning without him and his big salary. Use it for C.C. Sabathia, a closer and a good left fielder.

  36. It will be McCann when he comes back, of course. Likely lineup should everyone be healthy (HAHAHAHAHA!)

    CF Blanco
    SS Escobar
    3B Chipper
    C Franchise
    1B Kotchman
    RF Out Machine
    2B Kelly Platoonson
    LF Flotsam

    I’m assuming Kotsay will be dealt for scraps, because he won’t secure a draft pick (he would make too much in arbitration for the Braves to offer).

  37. I think the best way to grade this trade is incomplete. Kotchman is obviously not as good as Teix and he won’t be the centerpiece of our lineup (like Teix could have been), but he can be a good piece of it. This assumes that we get at least one power hitting outfielder and a few other missing pieces. As has been said, Teix wouldn’t have signed with us and 3 years of Kotchman (and probably Marek) is > 2 months of Teix (and one or two draft picks) IMO. Kotchman should do well, but I still don’t know how Kotchman’s walk rate has dropped more than 50% since last year, but his strikeouts have dropped also.

    Let’s hope Wren can do a few more things before the trade deadline, but I think we’ll only know how good or bad this trade was after the off-season deals.

  38. Through the end of May:

    Tex – .271 AVG, .356 OBP, .440 SLG, 7 HR
    Kotch – .321 AVG, .376 OBP, .474 SLG, 6 HR

  39. Keith Law says that he likes Kotchman, but that this season he has strangely started swinging early in the count and trying to go the other way.

    Let’s hope that when he meets Terry Pendleton he shakes his hand, and then moves as far away as possible.

    FWIW, I believe that TP will not be with the Braves beyond this season.

  40. Say what you will about TP, but I’ll take him over Mickey Hatcher any day. The entire Angels lineup (other than Figgins) looks like they’re allergic to walks. The weird thing is that Scioscia walked a ton. It’s rare to see a team take on the personality of its hitting coach in contradiction to its manager.

  41. Maybe it’s good that he is away from Hatcher then.

    If the Angels are dumb enough to prefer K-Rod to Tex, then they better be going for it all this year.

  42. I sure hope they deal Kotsay.

    And Ohman, too. Depending on what they get in an Ohman trade, that Ascanio deal could turn out to be an absolute winner.

  43. Good grief, Mac. I hadn’t realized how low their walk rate is. Unbelievable. Perhaps there is a trading partner for Jeffy.

  44. B. Not everything we ever hoped for, but pretty good, I think, in the circumstances. I definitely prefer Kotchman and a live arm instead of the soft tossing lefties from Georgia we would have gotten with the picks. I think Kotchman will be solid in the field and we get to see what he puts together during his peak years while under team control. All of that could be moot if he doesn’t get his OBP back up to his norm.

    We should make a collection to send him a giftcard to his favorite Atlanta restaurant once the postseason starts. You know, to get him out of the house so he’s not sitting at home watching the Angels and thinking what could have been…

  45. I said Grade B. It’s a fine deal. No top prospect, but we’ve got a sufficient guy for 1B for the next few years or until we get someone better. His OBP is pretty low this year, but so is his BABIP. His K-rate, it’s worth noting, has been about 5% for his career, which is phenomenal. He’ll hit .300 next year with a decent shot at doing better. His walk rate will keep him from being a .400 OBP guy with .350 more realistic, IMO. I don’t think he’ll hit more than, say, 20 HRs a year, which isn’t ideal for a 1B, but as long as McCann keeps on being the best catcher in the game, we’ll be okay.

    It will be critical to get a good-hitting LF this off-season, though; if our outfield is a black hole again, this will probably be one of the worst-ranked offenses in the majors next year.

    Also, we didn’t give up Ohman, so we’ve still got him to deal at some point. I figure we’ll get a good pitching prospect or two out of that.

  46. I don’t get the JS-would’ve-gotten-more sentiment, either. Especially Mac’s comment that he definitely would’ve gotten another guy thrown in. Mac must be forgetting what happened when we traded for Teixeira and JS was played like a drum by Jon F. Daniels, tossing in extra prospects left and right.

    Re: Kotchman, if this year’s OBP is a new career norm, I agree that we’re not going to be very happy with him going forward unless he adds a whole lotta power. That said, as sansho notes, it clearly looks like a fluky outlier. I’m willing to assume he’ll get it back up until it’s proven otherwise.

    As for grading the trade, I voted “B”, although I almost voted for the “not enough info” option. As I said yesterday, a lot of how I’ll view this down the road will depend on what comes next. Replacing a super-expensive guy with a cheap(ish), solid major leaguer is a really good move if we’re funneling the saved funds toward outfield slugging and starting pitching. If we enter next season with the Jones/Diaz platoon in LF, Francoeur in RF, and some journeyman #3 or #4 starter as our only FA signing, I won’t be looking back too fondly on this deal.

  47. Kotchman is 25, Tracy is 28. Kotchman also has less service time, but not by much, so conceivably we’d have him a bit longer. I like him more than Tracy. But we should have gotten a better throw-in than we did. And I would have liked Andy LaRoche and a throw-in pitcher more than Kotchman. Would have left us in a bad place 1B wise, but couldn’t we have found some warm body to take care of that? Ohman for Dan Johnson maybe? And then move Chipper there in the offseason for next year, LaRoche at 3rd?
    I think the liklihood of us drafting with the compensation picks for Tex two guys who would end up being as servicable as Kotchman and an arm with possibilities is less than worth gambling on, but that we could have gotten a better deal. If Hudson wasn’t hurt seriously, though, they could gamble on the two picks being better, and on somehow sneaking back in (said the sname of hope)

  48. Kotchman or Thorman weren’t our only options at first base. They could for instance have moved Chipper to first and had Lillibridge at third or Chipper at first, Escobar at 3rd, and Lillibridge at short, etc. etc. Now the team almost has to go after a free agent like Adam Dunn or trade for Jason Bay or else be stuck with an outfield of Francoeur and some combination of Shaeffer, Blanco, and Brandon Jones next year. Maybe Kotchman will suddenly become a 20+ HR, .370+ OBP guy for the next few years in which case we’ll look back on this as a great trade. I hope that happens, but I don’t see any reason to believe it will.

  49. They could for instance have moved Chipper to first and had Lillibridge at third or Chipper at first, Escobar at 3rd, and Lillibridge at short, etc. etc. Now the team almost has to go after a free agent like Adam Dunn or trade for Jason Bay or else be stuck with an outfield of Francoeur and some combination of Shaeffer, Blanco, and Brandon Jones next year.

    And I’m fine with that. If you’re deciding between putting Dunn/Bay or Brent Lillibridge in your lineup, the choice doesn’t seem very difficult to me.

  50. Mac, Joyner did hit 34 HR in ’87, but his next best total was 22 and he only topped 16 three times. I’m confident that Kotchman will exceed that, and “at his best” could be noticeably better (but you’re right – and i conceded in the last thread – that he’s not going to be a 30 HR guy).

    I assume we can at least agree that he’ll be better in Atlanta than Joyner was.

  51. I graded the trade as a B.

    I think the problem everyone (including me) has with this trade is how much less we got for Tex than we gave up to get him. But we need to remember that we also got a year of Tex’s production. He’s worth a lot less this year than last, because of his contract situation. Overall, I think we came off OK.

    Really, what convinced me this was a pretty fair trade was the fact that most Braves fans and most Angels fans hate it. In my experience, that usually means it was a fair trade.

  52. Kotchman is a below average hitter in an offensive position. He is certainly not more valuable than 2 first round draft picks. I guess this is what it feels like to be the Pirates. Based on this, I wonder if Wren even understands the fundamental principles of valuing talent needed to be a baseline competent GM.

  53. My take on the trade, written yesterday:

    I feel slightly better about the deal Wren made than about the Nady/Marte deal the Pirates made, but I think they’re similar: the organization had to make the deal to extract value from commodities that simply didn’t have much use on the team any more, because the teams are going nowhere this year. And, with their hands forced, they had to search around to find a deal, and there was nothing close to a knock-em-dead offer or a blue chip prospect. So they took what they could. It’s easy to criticize the guys they got, and they may have left value on the table, though I don’t know what other deals were out there. As it is, though, their teams are better for having made the deal than they would have been if they held onto the players. (Nady’s value will likely never be higher, nor, probably, will Marte’s.)

    It’s possible — maybe even probable — that Schuerholz would have been able to extract more value, simply by sheer force of will and reputation alone. Wren’s going to have to earn that respect. This wasn’t a coup like the Ascanio deal, but it wasn’t bad. It addresses our hole at 1B and gives us an interesting bullpen prospect. We’ll have to hope Kotch adds a little more power and rediscovers his walking stick, but he’s cheap, we have him for 3 more years, and now we can direct our full attention to stocking outfield. Better we have these guys than waste a couple draft picks.

  54. It comes down to if Kotchman can recapture his walks — basically, if he is a victim of bad coaching from an organization that stresses offensive aggressiveness to the exclusion of all other virtues. While the Braves have that reputation, it is belied by their actual results; the Braves are fourth in the NL in walks and third in OBP. He will go from a team whose franchise player (Vlad Guerrero) is notorious for swinging at anything to one where the two franchise players (Chipper, going out, and McCann, going in) are high-walks sluggers. If Kotchman recaptures his walks, he is a useful player despite only moderate power, a decent third wheel. If not, he is indeed a below-average hitter.

  55. Are we sure the Braves are leaving Marek in a relief role? Might they plan on making him into a starter again?

    Also, FWIW, I think Wren generally gets a bum rap around here. He’s not Billy Beane, but it sure looks to me like he’s done mostly good and nothing obviously bad, apart from the Brayan Pena situation, which I suspect was more Bobby’s doing than anyone’s.

    Matt D,
    You obviously don’t understand the value (or lack thereof) of MLB draft picks.

  56. If you want to dream, take a look at his most-similar hitter through age 24. And then put it out of your mind, because it isn’t going to happen. The second guy is a possibility.

  57. I would take three seasons of Wally Joyner that might count than a half of a season of Eddie Murray that doesn’t matter and then replacing him with Scott Thorman

  58. I like the deal ok. We don’t know all other options but reports suggest Wren didn’t have lots of other choices. Fingers crossed that the real Kotchman is more like 07 than 08.

    Any news on potential market for Kotsay and Ohman? Supposedly several teams are looking of LH relief so Ohman should have a good chance of being dealt. It’s hard to see much demand for Kotsay.

    Off to the Rome Braves with my kid this afternoon. Some stats on Freeman, Hayward, and KKKKody Johnson:

    Freeman: BA .318; OBP .374; SLG .543; HR 17; BABIP .344

    Hayward: BA. 318; OBP .382; SLG .469; HR 9; BABIP .366

    Johnson: OBP .304; HR 16; K’s 149 :-(

  59. Matt D – We would probably have gotten an extra pick in the 20’s and one in the 40’s. I think Kotchman and Marek are worth at least that much, considering we don’t have to shell out signing bonuses and we don’t have to wait 5 years for them to maybe sniff the Atlanta roster.

  60. The Ortiz thing was touched on by Robert and AAR yesterday, Mac.

    BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed reading over last night’s thread. Some outstanding stuff from Douglass, Robert, and AAR, to name a few.

  61. This may sound strange, but shouldn’t we try to re-up Kotsay? He is our best outfielder.
    Unless we package him and a pitcher for a much better OF why lose him?

    I know he isn’t great, but who else are we going to throw out there?

    I cant believe how bad our OF really is, they are so terribly bad.

  62. Obviously, everyone would prefer Murray to Joyner but that’s not really the choice the Braves had given their unwillingness (perhaps rightly) to spend big bucks on free agents. It all comes down to how much you think draft picks are worth and I think that’s hard to evaluate because there are so many variable. By making the deal, the Braves have what appears to be an at least serviceable and affordable first baseman for the next several years. Who knows about the pitcher? At the same time, you have passed up the opportunity that draft picks afford to possibly get a higher upside player. I don’t knwo what’s better but clearly the draft picks wouldn’t be playing in Atlanta next year. It is disappointing to be going from Mark Teixera to Casey Kotchman at first base but we all knew this was likely when the Braves made the trade.

    A lot depends on what the team does in the offseason. If Kotchman is a complementary player, then he will probably be fine. If he is a cornerstone, then we are in trouble.

  63. Is that five in addition to Kotsay and Ohman, who are pretty publicly on the block? The Braves have been shopping Jeffy, too. There have been a few whispers about KJ, but I hope that’s not the case. The rest would be in the spare part category — Infante, maybe, or Prado. Soriano has probably been shopped around, but there wouldn’t be much market for a guy with a mysterious, undiagnosed elbow problem.

  64. someone said the ajc had this article and they talked about

    Soriano, Infante, Francouer, Kotsay, and Ohman being those other 5.

    Norton is a useful PH, but nothing more. Think we can get a backup catcher for him?

  65. Moving Chipper to first is not an option. Even if it was it’s not an option to either him or the Braves. Therefore it won’t happen ever. Moving McCann to first won’t happen either, but is far more likely in five years or so than moving Chipper to first. Why does everyone keep thinking this is a solution? It isn’t. Why couldn’t LaRoche have moved to first, he’s the one who’s young and adaptable, why is it always Chipper who has to move in these scenarios? If this was gonna come back up again, I’m even more glad we got Kotchman now.

  66. Not only shouldn’t we re-sign Kotsay but we shouldn’t have acquired him in the first place since we already had traded for Josh Anderson and also had Blanco and Brandon Jones as potential outfielders. Joey Devine who we traded to get Kotsay is sporting a 1.23 era and 1.05 whip with no homers and more than a strikeout an inning. We gave up on him far too quickly.

  67. Nick, on what basis do you say moving Chipper to first isn’t an option? He for sure is a very good third baseman when he’s healthy, but since he has chronic leg injuries it would seem like a good way to keep him in the lineup to move him to first base where he could stand there and take throws instead of charging balls.

  68. Anyone who thinks that they would rather have the two draft picks is either way too big of an NFL fan and simply doesn’t understand or needs to get their head examined. You do realize that Kotchman was a No. 1 pick and was the top prospect in the Angels’ organization for like four years, right? And Marek at least has good stats. Do you realize how low the chances of us coming up with a top prospect who turns out to be a serviceable Major Leaguer and a decent pitching prospect with a live arm with our two draft picks are? And even if we did, do you realize how long it would take for them to develop? This is not the NFL or the NBA. Draft picks are basically worthless by themselves.

  69. I’d say the 5 Braves that could be had are:

    Lillibridge or Ring

  70. I’m sure there are a lot more than 5 Braves that *could* be had. csg’s list looks about right for the guys they’ve been actively shopping and/or receiving relatively serious inquiries on, though.

  71. Ron, your right, but that trade happened.
    I just dont see Kotsay getting us anything useful unless we trade him and Ohman together, which is possible.

  72. Draft picks are immensely valuable, in fact. It’s a myth that they’re unpredictable, albeit a myth that was probably reinforced around here by the horrible drafting by the Braves in the nineties.

    The basic fact is — and this has been researched — that unless you’re talking a star, you’re better off not losing a first round pick to sign a free agent.

  73. That’s the question: Where will the power come from besides an aging, injury prone Chipper and catcher who will get beat constantly.

    There has to be another trade in the works or some major signings in the offseason.

  74. So, Mac, do you think the Braves should have held on to Tex and taken the picks?

  75. He’s never played first in his life, Ron. I think people just assume that if you can play third, you can play first, but we know better because we saw Ken Caminiti attempt it. I don’t think it would be a smooth transition, and if it’s not, then it’s really not worth it at all. Plus, Chipper’s injuries seem to come more from running the bases. The only injury he sustained playing third that I can remember is that freak injury on the horrible field in San Francisco.

    He’s turned into a Gold Glove caliber third baseman. Why would we take that away? If he wasn’t very good there, that would be one thing, but that’s not the case at all. We could wind up seriously screwing up our infield defense for no particular reason. I think it’s kind of moots, since with Kotchman now there’s no chance of it happening, but that’s my take.

  76. IF you plan on contending in 2009, then those draft picks don’t help a lot. Plus, we will be able to take the soft tossing left handed starters from the greater Atlanta area in the 1st round or the 8th round anyways, so it doesn’t matter.

  77. The basic fact is — and this has been researched — that unless you’re talking a star, you’re better off not losing a first round pick to sign a free agent.

    I bet a lot of this has to do with the age at which guys hit free agency. A lot of free agents are 30+, or past their primes. If you’re talking about a guy who’s, say, just about to enter his prime, I’d bet the pick isn’t more valuable than him.

  78. I really would like to get some value out of Francoeur. I do believe that he’ll come around and become a good player, but I don’t think his value as a player will ever catch up to what he is going to cos. He’s one of those guys that has “perpetually overpaid” written all over him, and he’s going to be a bad contract for whoever has him for the next 2-3 years probably. The Braves can’t afford bad contracts unfortunately.

  79. At the very least, they’re not valuable in the short term. I still say I would take the proven Major Leaguer every time over a draft pick. Especially when that proven Major Leaguer is still developing. And as you said, until we stop drafting like idiots, draft picks are worthless.

    On the plus side, I’m from Atlanta, am a lifelong Braves fan and played organized baseball at one point. There’s probably a decent chance that they’ll draft me.

  80. The basic fact is — and this has been researched — that unless you’re talking a star, you’re better off not losing a first round pick to sign a free agent.

    I’ll buy that. However, Kotchman is worth more than two draft picks, especially in the 20-40 range (which I’m pretty sure is where they’d be). Guys there tend to turn into guys like Kotchman – in five years.

    Now, giving up this year’s first rounder for Glavine? That was incredibly stupid. In fact, I think that’s the worst move the Braves have made in a long time.

  81. FWIW, Tracy’s splits are brutal. Kotchman’s are about even. Factor in about a 5 player run difference for AL versus NL, and their offense becomes just about even, without CK not requiring a caddy. Kotchman is 3 years younger, with the biggest potential upside being in his slg pct. He’s also cost controlled for an additional year, and a clearly superior defensive player. I think you have to like this trade as at least a B as is, or even better if Marek pans out, or Kotch improves at all.

  82. The Braves’ drafts in the 2000s have been a lot better than in the 1990s. Some of that’s just drafting position, and some just that they’ve drafted more position players (who have a much higher success rate) and some of that’s Dayton Moore, who isn’t around anymore.

  83. I graded the trade a C. I think Kotchman will bounce back OBP wise when he leaves the “small ball” crazed Angels and Scioscia. It seems Casey and Scioscia didn’t have the best relationship. I thought Wren might have been able to get another decent minor league pitcher thrown into the deal. I don’t know if Schuerholz could have done better, but I’m sure Wren consulted with JS. I would have liked to heard some more rumors about Tex to the Yanks or Red Sox – just to see Wren trying to play each team off the other.

    I’d like to see the Braves extend Ohman.

  84. The basic fact is — and this has been researched — that unless you’re talking a star, you’re better off not losing a first round pick to sign a free agent.

    But that’s not the question here – rather what is the value of the two picks we WOULD have gotten had another team signed Teixeira. I submit that you’d be quite happy to get a MLB average 1B from a 1st round pick, and Marek is a great return on a supplemental round pick.

  85. no the biggest mistake this offseason was signing Glavine and losing our 1st round pick. the second biggest mistake was counting on all the old guys in the rotation to stay healthy

  86. I’m willing to take a wait n’ see on Kotchman. Since he IS 25 yrs. old, that means he still has potential for growth/upside and who knows, he might enjoy being moved over to the National League.

    I also don’t think much of TP as a hitting coach (though I stand by the fact that I think he’d make a good manager replacement for Bobby and hopefully someone more capable handling the hitters) but he is better than Mickey Hatcher – Mac’s right about that.

    And yeah, if we have any dream of competing again in 2009, we needed to fill first base. Now we can spend the offseason replenishing our outfield and bullpen since Kotchman’s set at first.

    Of course, this assumes that Tim Hudson will be ready & healthy again in April, since Smoltz, Glavine and Hampton are all done after this season, and Huddy will be leading the staff (hopefully) next year w/ Jurrgjens, Reyes, Campillo and Morton I assume?

  87. Naw Marc, I’d probably have to go in my own direction. I would have to go with Coke, and if not them, then UPS…heh.

    I’ll buy that you don’t want to be throwing first-round picks away for people like Glavine, I guess. But I think we shouldn’t have a second thought in situations like this one. Nor should we if we have the chance to sign Sabathia or Sheets or whoever else this offseason. I think a player in their prime is worth far more than a draft pick. We obviously can’t completely eschew draft picks. We need some of them. But I still think you need to look at the probability of those draft picks panning out. Although I guess the counterargument could be that even if they don’t pan out, the prospects we draft with them could be used in trades and so forth.

    And also, if our goal is contend next year, which Wren said that it is, you can’t be settling for the draft picks.

  88. Gave the trade a B for the reasons expressed yesterday: I don’t know that we could’ve done better & a ML-ready 1B was needed pronto.

    My misgiving was Mac’s. The low ’08 OBP ain’t good. But I also believe/hope it’ll rise toward ’07 level.

    Here’s hoping Kotch is a player we’ll warm to—looks like we’re gonna have him for awhile.

  89. Glavine and Hampton were done before the season – and 104, you are correct – that was absolutely criminal. You could sort of forgive not offering Jonesy arbitration, but who on earth thought Glavine had anything left? Well, I guess we know.

  90. Also, let’s not forget, guys. We can still trade Ohman, Kotsay, KJ, Jeffy, McCann, Chipper, Gonzo, Sori, Kotchman, Heyward, Freeman and Corky to Tampa Bay for David Price.

    …sorry, couldn’t resist.

  91. @108,

    Now wait a minute. At the time, the idea was that all we needed was league average pitching at the back end of the rotation and we would be in great shape. No one thought Glavine would be the old Glavine but most here thought he would at least be better than last year. And, for the most part, he was until he got hurt. He could have had several more wins with more offense. I did have misgivings about relying on two forty-somethings in the rotation but in fairness to Wren, there wasn’t much affordable pitching out there. And the Mets would certainly have been willing to bring him back. I think a lot of people thought he had something left. And no one would have anticipated him getting hurt given that he had never been on the DL. Age has nothing to do with it; pitchers get hurt just as readily at 22 as at 42. Smoltz was a different story, IMO; he had a history of arm trouble, had been on the DL last year, and was clearly a candidate for arm problems.

    Whether the Braves should have wasted a first-round pick on Glavine is something else but it’s revisionist history to suggest that no one thought he had anything left.

  92. And he would’ve won his 300th as a Brave. Kind of depressing that we didn’t if you think about it. We had the chance, as I recall.

  93. The whole point was the first rounder was a waste – but while we’re at it, it may be revisionist for you, but for me picking up a 42 year old soft tossing pitcher who’d just been unable to put up a 100ERA+ in a pitchers park, was well, exceedingly optimistic, to say the least.

    Mac, when exactly was there a chance to bring him back other than when he left for free agency (a debateable point on its own, but not the one I think you were making)? He was in a long term contract the whole time – 07 option added in 06 by the Mets

  94. for all those who said we should have kept Tex and tried to resign him, here you go….1st I’ve heard of this also

    With Teixeira’s offensive and defensive attributes, there’s certainly reason to believe his agent, Scott Boras, can land him an annual salary that exceeds $20 million during this winter’s free-agent market.

    “We offered a very aggressive multiyear contract that would have made him one of the highest-paid players in the game, and it was not accepted,” Wren said. “We knew from that discussion that we were not going to be able to sign him, and we didn’t feel like it would be best for the club to go into the offseason just receiving [compensatory] Draft picks when we could get established Major League players to fit our plan going forward.”

  95. Kotchman isn’t an asset to the team as long as he’s taking up 1 of the 8 available positions and not producing at least MLB-average for his position. At which (1B) it is relatively easy to find guys who can hit, by the way, and which is possibly the least important defensive position. Kotchman is exactly the kind of player that announcer and armchair types love and yet do not actually help your team win games by producing runs.

    Teams that are good at drafting can reasonably expect to get a lot of value from high draft picks. The Braves aren’t really one of these teams, but that’s no excuse.

    Face it, we’re a second class organization, especially since Ted Turner left the building. This is the kind of trade you make when you are not a top-tier franchise and it also helps keep you in that position.

    Casey Kotchman. Jesus Christ, do I ever hate the way this man plays baseball, and it’s like Wren doesn’t even realize he didn’t have to trade Tex at all unless he was getting value back.

  96. Matt D… if we kept Tex and then took the picks, who’s playing 1B for the next few years? Just curious to see what you think.

  97. I like the trade for one main reason: It clears up a spot with average production, so it allows us to focus on our other weaknesses going forward. IT’S ONE LESS QUESTION MARK. Now we can move on and get a power hitting outfielder and some pitching.

  98. OPS+ is a pretty blunt tool for measuring performance, but Kotch is 15 out of 26 1Bs with over 500 plate appearances for 07-08. Coupled with his defense, I’d say that puts him at league average right now with a good chance to get better.

  99. “Armchair types” – I just noticed that. Whom exactly do you mean, pal? And what have YOU done exactly to not be considered one?

  100. Matt D:

    How many times have you see the Kotch Rocket play?

    Also, he missed most of last season with mono.

  101. Sheesh – I said “blunt tool”. I don’t suppose you checked to see the relative weights of OBP v SLG of the entire list, and how he would then rate on it – I mean you wouldn’t just do a drive by snark like that without actually seeing if your fact had any value towards my premise, would you? Guess I need to be more specific. Mac, do you find Kotchman to be a roughly league average offensive 1B? If not, are you basing your ranking on just this season? And when you factor in defense, do you find him to be a roughly league average 1B?

  102. “It seems Casey and Scioscia didn’t have the best relationship.”

    On the contrary I heard that Sciosa loved Casey.

    The bottomline is the Braves are not going to contend next year with the current make-up.

    They have one starter, I don’t need to wait to hear diagnosis. Anytime you need to see Dr. Andrews, you are out at least a year. They have no power. No speed…just too many holes. Plus their minor leagues studs will not be ready.

    Get what you can get for Ohman, Kotsay and go from there.

  103. Kotchman’s career OBP in the majors is .337, which is almost exactly average (adjusted OBP for the Angels’ context is .336). He has a little more power than average. But then, he’s a first baseman; for a first baseman, this is below-average offense.

  104. But then, he’s a first baseman; for a first baseman, this is below-average offense.

    Would you care to quantify what your idea of league average is?

  105. And would you care to give your opinion when defense is factored in of whether Kotchman is roughly league average?

  106. @130 – We have 2 starters at the moment. At some point, people are going to have to start giving Campillo credit for the amazing work he has done this year. Not saying he is going to be lights out like this next year, but I don’t see him being any lower than a #3 starter. He has PINPOINT accuracy (kinda reminds me of someone named Maddux). He is no Maddux, but if you can locate your pitches as well as he can with as much movement as he has, you are a big league pitcher.

    Edit: It’s not like he’s had only 5 starts – he’s been doing this the whole year.

  107. One word comes to mind when I think of Kotchman…and that’s serviceable. If he turns out to be a Sean Casey type I will be happy. Not looking for more than that…

  108. BPro has Casey at 5th among AL 1B in VORP. His defense is not included in this figure.

    Dial has him at #9 offense plus defense

  109. As for defense, I don’t think that defense at first base matters much unless you’re really bad, Dick Stuart bad. There’s just not a lot of runs to be saved over there, so unless the first baseman is a total butcher who messes up routine groundouts, he isn’t going to hurt you or help you much.

  110. .287 .327 .448 versus .265 .343 .470. I can certainly see that these numbers are so far apart where the very thought of these two players being considered roughly equivalent is ludicrous. 28 points of raw OPS and 9 of adjusted OPS clearly separate the men from the boys here. No statistical noise potential – it’s clear. I concede.

  111. Well, at least I have a local baseball team that I can look forward to playing exciting baseball and being in contention in the near future–the Washington Nationals. :)

  112. Data Updated Through July 29 2008
    1. Justin Morneau MIN 1b AL 2008 458 11.3% .320 .393 .526 0 1 .299 0.211 0.366 32.2 22.7 39.4
    2. Kevin Youkilis BOS 1b AL 2008 422 10.0% .310 .379 .544 3 4 .293 0.207 0.348 28.4 20.1 33.8
    3. Jason Giambi NYA 1b AL 2008 358 8.8% .255 .394 .517 2 1 .237 0.170 0.320 19.8 14.2 26.7
    4. Miguel Cabrera DET 1b AL 2008 445 10.8% .293 .353 .493 1 0 .176 0.095 0.252 18.1 9.8 25.9
    5. Casey Kotchman ANA 1b AL 2008 398 10.0% .287 .327 .448 2 1 .069 -0.022 0.139 6.6 -2.1 13.3
    6. Sean Casey BOS 1b AL 2008 148 3.5% .356 .412 .452 1 0 .259 0.202 0.353 8.8 6.9 12.0
    7. Lyle Overbay TOR 1b AL 2008 418 10.2% .274 .377 .400 1 2 .060 -0.032 0.120 5.9 -3.2 11.7
    8. Christopher Davis TEX 1b AL 2008 109 2.5% .291 .330 .660 0 1 .356 0.266 0.401 8.7 6.5 9.8
    9. Carlos Pena TBA 1b AL 2008 365 9.0% .236 .340 .447 0 0 .038 -0.051 0.110 3.2 -4.4 9.4
    10. Kevin Millar BAL 1b AL 2008 428 10.4% .247 .343 .423 0 1 .022 -0.062 0.090 2.2 -6.3 9.0
    11. Frank Catalanotto TEX 1b AL 2008 216 5.0% .279 .352 .395 1 1 .012 -0.032 0.093 0.6 -1.5 4.5
    12. Bryan Lahair SEA 1b AL 2008 26 0.6% .375 .423 .625 0 0 .558 0.499 0.640 3.4 3.1 3.9
    13. Howie Clark MIN 1b AL 2008 8 0.2% .250 .250 .500 0 0 -.053 -0.101 0.032 -0.1 -0.2 0.1
    14. Richie Sexson NYA 1b AL 2008 17 0.4% .231 .353 .231 0 0 -.215 -0.297 -0.139 -0.9 -1.2 -0.6
    15. Jason Botts TEX 1b AL 2008 46 1.1% .158 .304 .395 0 0 -.153 -0.182 -0.059 -1.6 -1.9 -0.6
    16. Michael Aubrey CLE 1b AL 2008 30 0.7% .185 .267 .407 0 0 -.171 -0.243 -0.092 -1.2 -1.7 -0.7
    17. Richie Sexson SEA 1b AL 2008 292 7.2% .218 .315 .381 1 0 -.085 -0.176 -0.011 -5.9 -12.1 -0.7
    18. Chris Shelton TEX 1b AL 2008 117 2.7% .216 .333 .330 1 0 -.144 -0.218 -0.060 -3.8 -5.7 -1.6
    19. Wilson Betemit NYA 1b AL 2008 130 3.2% .244 .271 .398 0 1 -.131 -0.171 -0.061 -4.0 -5.2 -1.9
    20. Willy Aybar TBA 1b AL 2008 172 4.2% .222 .304 .359 2 1 -.144 -0.191 -0.054 -5.9 -7.7 -2.2
    21. Wes Bankston OAK 1b AL 2008 58 1.4% .222 .259 .333 0 0 -.266 -0.333 -0.182 -3.6 -4.6 -2.5
    22. Ryan Garko CLE 1b AL 2008 358 8.9% .244 .316 .359 0 0 -.108 -0.188 -0.032 -9.1 -15.8 -2.7
    23. Miguel Cairo SEA 1b AL 2008 133 3.3% .246 .320 .298 4 2 -.176 -0.239 -0.098 -5.5 -7.5 -3.1
    24. Shelley Duncan NYA 1b AL 2008 65 1.6% .175 .262 .281 0 0 -.346 -0.423 -0.275 -5.2 -6.4 -4.2
    25. Ross Gload KCA 1b AL 2008 301 7.4% .266 .317 .338 3 4 -.135 -0.225 -0.086 -9.7 -16.2 -6.2
    26. Paul Konerko CHA 1b AL 2008 335 8.2% .213 .310 .351 1 0 -.160 -0.247 -0.084 -12.6 -19.5 -6.6
    27. Ben Broussard TEX 1b AL 2008 89 2.1% .159 .225 .268 0 0 -.451 -0.542 -0.382 -9.0 -10.8 -7.6
    28. Daric Barton OAK 1b AL 2008 326 8.0% .224 .328 .310 0 1 -.165 -0.253 -0.102 -12.6 -19.4 -7.8
    Baseball Prospectus Home | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
    Copyright © 1996-2008 Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC

  113. Um… I was talking about the VORP. Ninth out of 16 is below the median, by the way, and I believe that the last number (OPD, whatever that is) means that he is below-average. Oh, and his OBP over the last 28 days is .287…

  114. That’s a bit hard to read, Spike, but not your fault. Anyway, note that most of the players below Kotchman are not everyday first basemen; they’re bench players and players from other positions who have played a few games at first base. With a 300 PA qualifier, he rates at fifth among 12 — above average, though.

    I’ll take RC/27, though — I understand that.

  115. Mac – all of your concerns are well placed. I will not argue that you are incorrect in your judgements. However, I do believe the potential is there. His walks are down this year when compared to previous years. If he were to pick those back up, the OBP would increase dramatically. Also, he still doesn’t have a FULL year in the majors under his belt (by full year, I mean more that 130 games in ONE season). And as I stated previously, I think one of his most telling stats is that he simply DOESN’T strike out – at all. I say give the kid some time, he might just be REALLY good next year.

    BTW – also on that comparison list is a guy we all would have liked to have gotten (Connor Jackson).

  116. Uh, this is the current vorp chart for the Al. He’s still at 5 as I posted.

    1 Justin Morneau 39.4
    2 Kevin Youkilis 33.8
    3 Jason Giambi 26.7
    4 Miguel Cabrera 25.9
    5 Casey Kotchman 13.3
    6 Sean Casey 12
    7 Lyle Overbay 11.7
    8 Christopher Davis 9.8
    9 Carlos Pena 9.4
    10 Kevin Millar 9
    11 Frank Catalanotto 4.5
    12 Bryan Lahair 3.9
    13 Howie Clark 0.1
    14 Richie Sexson -0.6
    15 Jason Botts -0.6
    16 Michael Aubrey -0.7
    17 Richie Sexson -0.7
    18 Chris Shelton -1.6
    19 Wilson Betemit -1.9
    20 Willy Aybar -2.2
    21 Wes Bankston -2.5
    22 Ryan Garko -2.7
    23 Miguel Cairo -3.1
    24 Shelley Duncan -4.2
    25 Ross Gload -6.2
    26 Paul Konerko -6.6
    27 Ben Broussard -7.6
    28 Daric Barton -7.8

    OBP over the last 28 days? Nice. I never figured you for a cherry picker, but selective endpoints?

  117. Anyway, note that most of the players below Kotchman are not everyday first basemen;

    I suppose looking at the only four above is out of the question. Jesus.

  118. I was pointing out that the chart at Primer you linked was out of date, because he has slumped since then.

    I can see the group above Kotchman. It’s quite impressive. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Casey Kotchman, though, because those players are a long, long way away from him. His peers are the guys immediately below him.

    And, as I said, I’ll stick with RC/27 because I understand how it works, while VORP is something I don’t understand. And Kotchman is making a whole lot of outs this year.

  119. Well I hear his VOLTRON numbers are solid.

    He is 25 and is developing some pop. he is pulling full time for the first time in the big leagues. He missed most of last year with Mono.

    Can we give him a real shot before we go looking for stats that say he sucks? This board gets too negative on guys too quick. Just chill and see what happens.

  120. I’ll take RC/27, though — I understand that.

    Yeah – who puts any stock in those statistics that “armchair types” come up with?

  121. @147.

    13 of the top 18 First Basemen in MLB are in the NL based on RC27. (Which is what I also use to rate 1B’s)

    But hey, using only the AL 1B’s makes a better point right?

  122. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Casey Kotchman, though, because those players are a long, long way away from him

    Cabrera is 12 runs better. I’ll eat my hat if proper defensive metrics don’t have Kotch more than equalling that differential. He’s usually 10 – 15 runs better than replacement, and Cabrera is under. But that’s okay – I mean, the OTHER three guys are really good and all.

  123. Ethan – you do know that the AL is a tougher hitters league by about 5 runs per player year, or are you just cherry picking too?

  124. Look – you guys think he sucks? Fine. I think I’ve given a lot of data to support the idea that he’s average to slightly better RIGHT NOW and is a good bet to get better going forward. Stick with whatever supports your point of view.

  125. Mac – I will argue (to some extent) that a good fielding 1st baseman makes more of a difference than you appear to give credit for. Not only does he have to field his own position, but if he picks well over at first, he can save the rest of the infield errors as well. And knowing what to do on starting double plays hit to you can be invaluable as well – Tex has shown that at least 3 times in this past week alone. Beyond that, I won’t make an argument – but I do believe it is helpful.

  126. I’m not sure what VORP is really supposed to measure, if it is really expressed in runs (if it were, wouldn’t it be “RORP”?) but in Runs Created, Cabrera has a 16.6 advantage. However, a lot of that is probably park effects. At any event, doesn’t VORP include defense? I don’t know, but like I said I don’t understand how it works.

    Fielding Bible plus/minus leaderboard:

    First Base
    Rank Player +/-
    1 Lance Berkman +19
    2 Mark Teixeira +13
    3 Joey Votto +13
    4 Derrek Lee +12
    5 Casey Kotchman +11
    6 Daric Barton +10
    7 Lyle Overbay +7
    8 Albert Pujols +6
    9 Todd Helton +5
    10 Carlos Pena +5

    Cabrera is -7. BTW, Teixeira’s defense picked up at the same time his offense did; he was not in the top ten six weeks ago.

  127. Mac, I get that you don’t like the deal but what would you have had Wren do? Two days before deadline.
    No Conor Jackson available.
    Best deal on the table for a 2 month rental.
    Need a first baseman to reduce the number of positions you have to fill next season.
    Holding on to Teixiera nonsensical respectfully disagreeing with your high regard for draft choices.

    Kotchman’s history says probably at best an above average first baseman. He was pretty good last season, not so this season. Still you have to take what you can get. To say that Wren should have done better or could have done better is assuming that there was better out there. Nonsense.

  128. So, I’m thinking about next season’s roster construction. And here’s what I’m thinking: We need, at a minimum, two starting pitchers—one of whom is top-of-the-rotation-caliber and the other of whom is no worse than middle-of-the-rotation caliber—and a slugging (read: All-Star-caliber) corner outfielder.

    Now, I realize we can’t just snap our fingers and have the roster we want, but the above seems to be what we need, in addition to what we already have, to be competitive in 2009. And, most importantly, I honestly believe we can do that without taking the payroll past the roughly $90 million that it’s been in 2008.

    (Warning: This is going to be pretty dang long.)

    (1) We will have to make a Hudson- or Sheffield-like trade this offseason for a non-free-agent, somewhat cost-controlled player, either a pitcher or a corner outfielder.

    (2) We will have to sign the other two, whether that’s two pitchers or a pitcher and a corner outfielder.

    I don’t think we have enough trade chips to acquire 2 of the 3, unless we want to literally empty the farm (including guys like Heyward and Hanson), which I absolutely do not want to do.

    Examples of corner outfielders who could theoretically be traded for: Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Xavier Nady. Obviously, the salary, length of time remaining on contract, and offensive value of these guys (and others who could conceivably be on such a list) differs, and decisions would have to be made. Rios has had a down year but is young and under control for a while. Holliday is expensive in ’09 and then a FA afterward. Bay, at $7.5 million, looks pretty effing good.

    Examples of pitchers who could theoretically be traded for: not sure, really. Contenders don’t generally trade good, cost-controlled pitchers. Greinke? Peavy? Oswalt? Bedard? Harang? Bonderman? Obviously, there are injury concerns with some of those guys, and some of those guys probably aren’t really available, and then there are the middle-of-the-rotation options…anyway, you get the picture.

    As for free agents, the only impact corner outfield bats appear to be Dunn and Burrell. The only top-of-the-rotation starters appear to be Sheets and Sabathia. As for middle-of-the-rotation guys, names like Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster are out there, as are some that might look like options if you squint a little. Maybe.

    I really think this is doable. Sign Dunn and Sheets, and trade for some mid-tier starter. Sign Burrell and Lowe, and get super-aggressive on the trade front for someone’s ace. Sign Sabathia and Dempster, and trade for Jason Bay. These are all within the Braves’ current financial means. It will be very frustrating if we don’t build a contender next year, because I think we can.

    Would love the thoughts of anyone who managed to make it through this whole thing.

  129. If you check Kotchman’s RISPRT and PHLBRT’s, I think you find that he is above average.

  130. I think we can get too caught up on a guy’s current stats. Players do change–they get better or sometimes get worse. My impression of Kotchman is that he is a serviceable first baseman now who could improve but is not likely to ever be as good as Teixera. But the Angels were doing pretty well with him in the lineup (granted, with overwhelming pitching). It really gets down as to whether the Braves would have been better off taking draft picks and waiting several years for them to potentially reach Atlanta. I’m sort of agnostic on the question because it obviously depends on how well they draft and where the picks are.

  131. I’ve been thinking about it and I’d probably say C rather than D now, but I really wish the Braves had gotten another prospect, or a prospect with more upside. I don’t like trading for minor league relievers.

  132. Anything to help

    Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player’s defense.

    Kotch plus 18 Defense
    Cabrera – plus 12Offense
    Net – (gotta be specific) plus 6 for Kotchman

  133. I tend to agree with Spike on this one. Let’s watch him for a 1/3 of a season before we judge the guy. And above average defense at first does count for something- just look at Marc Jacobs in FL. He’s atrocious.

  134. @167 – you can’t compare offensive values to defensive values straight up like that. Offense would be given much more weight in that equation (especially for a 1st baseman).

  135. Spike, you sure are feisty today. While I agree with your analysis and am similarly baffled by Mac’s stance on the trade, I don’t think the all-out sarcasm (borderline assholishness) is completely warranted here.

  136. “Spike Says:
    “Armchair types” – I just noticed that. Whom exactly do you mean, pal? And what have YOU done exactly to not be considered one?”

    An armchair type would be my dad. He’s about as smart at analyzing the game as Hawk Harrelson. Because I have a basic understanding of the fundamental aspects of baseball, such as getting on base, hitting for power, regression to the mean, BABIP, just basic shit like that, and once in a while I will look at WARPs and RCs, and I read Bill James sometimes, I am excluding myself from that category.

    “Smitty Says:
    Matt D:
    How many times have you see the Kotch Rocket play?
    Also, he missed most of last season with mono.”

    I have Extra Innings and two TVs and I flip around and end up watching the equivalent of several games per night, most nights. Also saw every inning of all their playoff games in 2005 and 2007 while Casey was on the team (though with limited action in ’05). I’d estimate I’ve seen him bat around 200 times, conservatively. He swings too damn much and doesn’t hit the ball hard enough (partially as a result of swinging at marginal pitches).

    Regardless of what my eyes tell me (which is that he might get a little better but he has too far to go to get to good), I don’t like first basemen who have middling OBPs and not much power. I don’t like Angels baseball (make contact at all costs! strikeouts cost 2 outs!). I don’t like Jeff Francouer (swings at everything). I like baseball players who are good at not making outs. Especially to play the easiest defensive position on a team that expects to contend regularly.

  137. Hey, people can disagree. I don’t like first basemen with .327 on-base percentages. Also, apparently most of the first basemen in the AL suck.

  138. Stu,

    I’ve been with you the entire way on that.

    Non-injury prone aces don’t find their way to free agency all that often, so if you’re going to sign someone you’re probably going to have to at least take a little risk on the injury front. Sheets, Burnett, for example.

    Does losing Hudson for all of next season free up any additional money? If he is out all next year and part of 2010, then we won’t exercise his 2010 option right? If we get 2009 insurance money on his contract, and 2010 he’s off the books, I don’t see why we can’t bring in two big time starters in addition to an all star caliber OF (Dunn, Bay, Burrell).

    I’d even be willing to settle for keeping Francoeur in RF and just signing a LF and two high end SPs.

  139. Anyway, I changed the tagline.

    I am increasingly of the opinion that the problem with OBP is that it really should be stated in its mirror image, as “out percentage”. If people said that one player had a .600 OP and another had a .680 OP (lower is better!) they might realize the cost of outs more.

  140. All I said was I thought Kotch and Marek were more than what you’d expect to get out of two draft picks for Teix, and given that from the available information, this was the best deal on the table. Mac’s point about OBP is well taken, but I thought that it was missing the bigger picture and league contextualization that other stats could account for, and got snarked at a couple of times for my trouble. As my good pal Mark Twain said, “when it comes to sarcasming, I reckon I can hold my end up”.

    And to be called a borderline asshole by you of all people – well, now I think we can all agree that you are the authority on the topic ;)

  141. Feisty?

    Why do you think they call him “Spike”?

    It’s all good stuff, ya’ll. Wish I had more time to read it all today.

  142. Wow…Spike is spiked today.

    Don’t expect the world from Kotchman. Think Sean Casey, Lyle Overbay, Travis Lee, Wally Joyner, Lee Stevens, David Segui…that’s all of the serviceable left-handed 1st basemen I could think of. We are not looking at an all-star, just a major league 1st baseman. If he was anything more, he would still be an Angel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *