Giants 4, Braves 2

ESPN – Braves vs. Giants – Box Score – August 04, 2008

As if I wasn’t depressed enough, I had to watch this team play “baseball”, or whatever it is they’re playing instead. The Giants are a bad team, but the Braves looked worse, combining sloppy play, disinterested play, and occasional whining. They had a couple of chances to get back into it, but never really seemed close to tying the score even when they had the tying runs on base.

Jair Jurrjens didn’t pitch too well, allowing nine hits, walking three, and striking out just one. Really, he was lucky to allow just four runs (three “earned”) in six inning. Still, despite the walks he was mostly around the plate (70 strikes, 37 balls) and sometimes if you’re around the plate you’ll give up a bunch of hits.

The Braves couldn’t really mount any sort of major threat until late in the game. Kotchman tripled in the sixth and came in on a single by Infante. In the seventh, they loaded the bases with two out, but McCann (back in the lineup, but having a tough day) popped up to end the threat. Francoeur (who sucks) hit a weak little groundout with runners first and third, one out, in the eighth to bring in a run, but that was it.

Francoeur personifies this team. He sucks, and so do they. Good night.

70 thoughts on “Giants 4, Braves 2”

  1. We have gotta thank Mac for his recaps on this terrible team.

    Seriously Mac, you really think this team is really only few pieces away from contenting? We can’t keep hoping for a healthy Chipper, and we will not have Hudson next year. There will be no Tex and we can’t rely on Smoltz on doing anything.

    Basically, this team is hopeless for 2009 unless it has $80M free payroll for next season.

  2. Toward the end of the TV broadcast, Joe mentioned something about how doing the game and spending most of it talking about Skip helped him quite a bit. I found myself feeling the same way about watching the game and listening to all those stories and old clips of Skip. I almost didn’t watch tonight because I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but I’m glad I did.

  3. I feel that this team would have contended next year until the Hudson injury.
    Now we need basically a big bat OF, a good bat OF and 2 pitchers, that was the last straw.
    The really better re-sign Ohman though, Soriano is worth shit, I wish the would do it now and get it over with before the Yanks or Sox throw 3.3 million for 4 years at him.

  4. I am quite concerned for how to move forward from here.

    There is, to me, one #1 starter, C. C. Sabathia. I don’t think the Red Sox will be on him. However, the Mets and Yankees could both be, let alone the Dodgers (although there is a lot of curious “not enough money” stuff coming out of them). And, if you take C. C., you have a lot of innings and a bad body type that you are probably going to have to give more than 5 years. OUCH.

    Sheets is a slightly healthier version of Harden. Somebody will take a chance. The Braves CANNOT afford to take chances with $20 million already tied up in Hudson and Soriano (yes, I believe Soriano needs a major surgery. If not, he is a supreme head case).

    I scrolled through MLB pitchers by stats and the qualifying stat leaders (and I mean to like number 50 or so, which I think is into the #2’s)are either fluky (Duchserer, Campillo), or players that their team wouldn’t consider parting with (Jon Lester). I don’t see a trade netting a @1.

    So, our strategy has to be different. We have to load up the offense to at least competitive next year (but only in a way that will not hamstring us going forward), bring in a solid 2 or 3 to start, rely on current guys for bullpen, and try to get the “near ML pitchers” (Reyes, Morton, Hanson, Redmond [the guy at Mississippi] Chuck James) sorted out. Meanwhile, monitor the “farther out” guys (Rohrbaugh, Evarts, Heath, etc. as pitchers and Flowers, Heyward, Freeman as position players) and make end of 09 moves as the situation suggests.

    Where can we “load up the offense”? Pat Burrell is the first possible fit. We would have to make his contract level so that we could trade him to an AL team as a DH on the back end of the contract, if necessary.

    Is there anybody in Japan? I pushed hard for Fukudome the last 2 years. IF, we had not taken on Kotsay and not signed Glavine, there is the money for this year. Also, I believe that having a presence in Japan would provide new revenue toward the contract, thus making a Japanese player less expensive.

    Get a right handed catcher / first baseman. (a year or so farther out, this could be Flowers). Not that McCann can’t hit lefties, but to allow the back up to play WHERE HE CAN SUCCEED and we don’t have such an offensive drop off.

  5. For comment on the board.

    I am wondering if anybody knows anything fairly solid on BAPIP in minor leagues.

    Several of the Braves top pitchers are striking out around or over 1 per inning and giving up more than 1 hit per inning. I rough calculated BAPIP and came up with numbers from .300 to .400, even one at almost .450. And, these are guys that are NOT getting shelled with home runs (a good approximation for “hard hit” balls).

    Curious how much of that is typical of minor leagues and how much may be that our minors are worse than they should be in fielding.

  6. Well, at least we’ll probably be picking within the top 5 of next year’s draft . . . and maybe for the next few years after that.

  7. Cliff, firsinning.com has good numbers on that. Major league BABIP’s are usually around .320ish. The minor leagues are usually a little higher due to fielders generally not being as good, as fast, etc. Saying that, Cole Rohrbough, last time I checked had a BABIP of .405, which is insanely unlucky.

  8. I love Joe’s Skip impression. The game was fun to watch and hear the stories, I was trying to go to sleep, but I kept laughing.

  9. @8, Eric,

    I think as of this morning, I had Rohrbaugh at .440 or so. His ERA made no sense in light of his K’s, BB’s, and HR’s.

    My understanding of ML BAPIP (not counting home runs, which are not in play) is around .295 to .300.

  10. Good post Cliff. I agree-the Braves are going to have to be creative in the offseason. I’m skeptical about this talk we keep hearing from Wren about how aggressive they are going to be. Granted, they were in going after Teixera but it seems like the Braves are always in the mix for this or that player but they don’t get it done. They have to start looking to places like Japan and do things differently than they have. I honestly don’t know how they can fill the holes they have. I do not think they should go after Sabbathia or Sheets because it’s going to require a long-term deal,always dangerous for a pitcher, and the Braves are just now starting to get out from under the big contracts they have now. I doubt that Braves will be Seattle Mariner bad but I fear it will be several years before they are a serious factor again.

  11. For the rest of 08, our tasks.

    1. Clear anybody we should clear through waivers. The only possibilities there are (to get THROUGH waivers and MAYBE get something useful for) are Kotsay and Soriano. If a trade develops for either that’s worth it, take it. As to “the other idiots” clear the roster space.

    2. Bring up and play some guys from Richmond and Mississippi. Mainly guys that would be 40 man or 25 man mandatory guys this offseason anyway. Find out if they are worth anything. ,

    3. Take the load off the young arms. Jurrjens, and Boyer, for sure, need limits, and they need them NOW. Ohman is a tougher case. If we offer arb, then if we take him to the house, we won’t get any compensation. Stockman needs to come up and pitch.

    4. I know McCann is a gamer, but watch him real close. On slightest problems with this concussion thing, shut him down.

    5. Sit Francoeur some. One reason, allows us to test young guys (really only shots here are B. Jones, Josh Anderson, maybe one of the old guys [Jason Perry, Gorecki] and maybe Schafer). But the other reason is we need to know if he is going to mouth off again. If he doesn’t realize his bad play justifies us looking for other options, then toss him out the door. He needs to hear and pay attention to the blunt reality that he has to change his approach.

  12. I have reached the point where I am more concerned by the probability of underpeformance we will have with Francoeur still on next year’s roster than I am with the difficultyof finding or cobbling together a right fielder.

    And people that are down on Schafer’s performance. Look at his splits. If you take the 4 April games out his season OPS goes up 40 points or so. He is demolishing righthanders (particularly for a legit fielding centerfielder). He needs fall or winter ball to work on hitting lefthanders (maybe to AAA where all of the experienced, but not too great guys are to challenge him more?)

  13. What to do about the old war horses?

    I don’t include Hampton in this because he is not sentimentally a Brave.

    Glavine. I hope he can eat some innings for us the rest of this year. Save some innings on some other guys. If he is effective, he might be worth a small incentive laden deal, but I think he would be offended about it and it would cause a PR stink. We can’t commit 5 million guaranteed, let along 8.

    Smoltz. He has the heart to produce. I doubt he has the shoulder for it. He would be HIGHLY OFFENDED at any talk other than “John is our guy and he will do it”. IF, by some miracle, he is 90% of what he was in 07, then we may have a chance to contend. If he is a bullpen only guy, he probably is only of minimal help. I am afraid that we won’t know how effective he might be until around spring training. We need to use our payroll up by then on FA’s and / or payroll adding trades.

    To do, Wren have a talk with Bobby in erly October. Make sure Bobby understands the reality of the situation with these guys. Then, call them in and have Cox there and go over options.

  14. My biggest fear for the offseason is that we attempt to fix this team on the cheap (i.e. Mondesi,Brogna). We’ve seen the results of this. Either spend the money on marquee players, or dont spend it at all and wait till the FA class is a little better.

  15. All good points Cliff but I disagree on some. First, while I agree you need to be careful with Jurrjens, I also think he needs to pitch to build up arm strenght. At some point, he has to be able to pitch 200 innings. Sit him if he appears to be laboring but I don’t think you should sit him simply to sit him. As for Boyer, I think people have made too big a deal out of him being overworked. His problems seem to come in certain situations, not necessarily related to overwork. He may have a good arm but how many middle relievers are good from year to year anyway.

    As for Smoltz and Glavine, I frankly hope they both retire. It’s time to move on. I can see Smoltz coming back and contributing to some extent, but you certainly can’t count on him. I think the chances of him being 90% are slim. Having heart is fine, but you need a shoulder to pitch as well.

    I think Chipper presents a real conundrum. He is clearly still a great player when he is healthy but he rarely is and his health isn’t likely to get better. Trading him is really not an option but somehow they have to have a better option for those 20-30 games he is going to miss each year.

    I do not think they should play marginal guys just to see if they have anything. Play guys that have a legitimate shot to help the team now and in the future. The FO ought to know by now who is legitimate and who is not. And playing guys in September is a mirage anyway. Lots of guys are able to produce when the games mean nothing. I don’t think you learn much from guys playing in September. If they are legitimate prospects, such as Heyward, then it might be worth giving them a couple of weeks in the big leagues even if they are not ready just to give them an idea of what it’s like.

  16. Marc,

    I am not confident what the front office knows. They obviously failed to know for a long time that Francoeur needed a complete re-do and may still be under delusions regarding that.

    I don’t mean to suggest bringing up players who are a long way from being forced onto the 40 man roster. Further, if you are suggesting that, I disagree. Heyward has no business in Atlanta this year. He is either 18 or just turned 19. MAYBE, take him up a level before the end of this season. MAYBE have in Major League camp next spring. But that’s it.

    Specifically try Josh Anderson. Most of us panned not the trade itself (getting something for the vulture was a plus), but because of the FO’s pronouncements regarding it. That is, that Anderson could be our startin CF.

  17. Since the broadcasting was more interesting than the game by the time I was able to tune in on radio (in the sixth inning)…

    I got the impression that Lemke was trying, if not to be Skip, at least be more banter-y than he usually is. At first I was a bit worried because Lemke hadn’t been quoted in any of the tribute articles — was wondering if there was some bad blood there — but he was joking about the seagulls, and Pete was joining in, or at least not shutting him down. Not that anyone should ask Lemke to be Skip (he’s not as smart, for one thing) but assuming he’s not annoying the heck out of Pete, he’s doing a decent service.

  18. My thoughts on ’09 (fwiw):

    Smoltz as closer in ’09 would probably work, assuming we keep Gonzalez. John’s presence with the staff (all of a sudden a very young staff) is worth the gamble.

    As much as I love McCann, he’s a walking double play. Can’t have him as our #4, and is probably best at #6.

    Kelly is driving me nuts. Not ready to shop him, though.

    Chipper is Chipper. Infante is a great backup and might even warrant an outfield spot at times.

    If we had a hitting coach, he would be working with Yunel on plate discipline and soon we’d have an All-Star at SS. That’s if we had a hitting coach.

    Kotchman? It’s tempting to think we’ve got 1B solved for a number of years and move on, but if Casey is indeed the guy, it drives a lot of other decisions.

    If you’re not getting significant power from 1B, you either need it from somewhere else or you try to win like the Angels. And, apparently, that wasn’t good enough for the Angels.

    But it might be good enough for us.

    If so, then Blanco might be the guy at leadoff and CF. Speed, defense and a true leadoff mentality might help this team a great deal.

    OK, that leaves LF and RF.

    You just can’t have an Out Machine in RF. You just can’t. Not on this team. He’s got to get better or he’s got to go. I don’t enjoy writing that, but it’s the difference between contending and not.

    If we had a hitting coach, he might be able to teach Francouer to square that back shoulder and hit the ball to ALL the gaps and you’d really have something. That’s if we had a hitting coach.

    Left field should belong to our #3 or #4 hitter (Chipper can drop to #4 if need be). This is where we spend our money. 40 HR and 130 RBI should be the goal.

    Blanco
    Escobar
    Chipper
    Superstar
    Kotchman
    McCann
    Francouer (the line-drive gap hitting Francouer)
    Johnson

    Add a top of the rotation starter, stay healthy and get a little production off the bench and that’s at least competitive next year.

    Beats going into the season knowing we’re going to lose 100 games …

  19. Report from the New Wave Seniors Tour
    (The Police/Elvis Costello at Jones Beach)
    EC did 45 minutes & it was fine. Highlights: “Uncomplicated” & “Alison,” which featured a Sting cameo.

    Sting & Crew bordered on being the Jazz Police. Stewart Copeland kept it interesting. Too many solos from Summers for my taste. But everytime it wandered into NoodleLand, they whipped out something with more snap.

    It was kind of weird because all I wanted to do was hear the Skip tribute. I got home, dialed up mlb.tv and (of course) I got the Giants TV feed. It came on just in time to see Frenchy make a “productive out,” an RBI 4-3 putout while we were down 3 runs.

  20. Cliff,

    Sorry if I misinterpreted what you meant. You are right about Francouer and the front office.

    The Braves are in a somewhat unique position. Unlike other bad teams, they pretty much know what most of their lineup will be next year. At least five of the eight positions (absent a big trade) are set and, unfortunately, most likely a sixth (RF). So they really are looking for a couple of pieces in the oufield and, now, for top of the rotation starters. None of those are likely to come from the system immediately.

  21. As others have suggested before, I think we’ll have to hit well and hope to pitch well enough to win some games. But do we try and find some decently priced innings eaters or let the young guys go at it?

    Alzheimers08 is afraid that we’ll try to fix things on the cheap. Is there any other way? I just shudder when thinking about the possibility of our big offseason signings being Livan Hernandez and Kevin Mench. (and they probably wouldn’t be cheap, just poor)

  22. Sorry, that was the pessimistic view (on the signings). But I still don’t think we’ll be big players in free agency until I see it.

    Any predictions for opening day starter in 09?

  23. Does Livan have any vesting options or future years on his contract? If not, why don’t we bring him in. Mainly, to eat innings so that we can make sure everybody gets rest. If he is bad to mediocre, that is only a problem if we don’t get enough work for one of the you guys to allow for development and evaluation.

  24. Also, If Seattle tries to run Washburn through waivers, should we take a shot? He has been pretty good for the last 2 months and probably could meet the “good 3” definition many on here are citing and his contract for next year, only, (as in no future commitment) is something like 13 million. A little high for his production, but only one year of commitment and with all of the good to fairly good young pitchers we have, that is all we need (1 year with 1 club option would probably be ideal, but you won’t get that in FA).

  25. On my 25, I meant bring Livan in for the reaminder of this year only at prorated major league minimum. He could also be our righthanded bat for pinch hitting.

  26. Hanonly,

    Does anybody other than Manny meet your requiremnts for the great hitting left fielder if we stick with right handed hitters? Burrell doesn’t quite meet that.

    A Dunn or somebody left handed would be o.k., but only as part of a change out that assured us that we would not have Francoeur in right, but rather an above average right handed hitter (Matt Murton, DeJesus maybe?)

  27. please god…

    bobby can’t even keep manny from being manny

    HOWEVER, with our relatively large Latino contingent on the team (something that Boston, fwiw, did not have and the dodgers DO have) could help manny feel at home.

    if manny were to opt out of his contract, go to a team that’s not in a media frenzy (nyc/boston/la/chicago), it WILL be atlanta.

    i would love to see him in LF with us.

    Blanco
    Escobar
    Chipper
    Manny
    McCann
    Kotchman
    Diaz/Frenchy (i still think that he, along with soriano, could be trade bait for a solid #2)/Schafer/B.Jones
    Johnson

    that team would SCORE and SCORE often.

  28. Well,

    I have to say I’m a bit more optimistic about our chances for next season, but certain things have to happen. Some interesting free agent pitchers are Jon Garland (a solid no. 3), CC Sabathia (legit no.1, the whole thing about body type is overrated; Mark Prior is perfect and he still got hurt. You take your chances on anyone), Ben Sheets (a no.1 with injury issues; he’s not worth more than a 3 yr deal), and Oliver Perez (a no.3 but needs to be more consistent; if he’s more consistent, he’s got the talent to be a 2). The problem here is that everyone will want CC and Sheets, so we’re competing with a lot of teams. With our money that will be available, that eliminates most, but it leaves teams like Milwaukee (who after a taste may not want to quit), NYY, NYM, and Boston (don’t count them out with Ramirez’s contract gone). We have a legit shot at CC, but Wren has to let go more than Schuerholz would have done. We can also be more flexible knowing that Hudson’s contract is up at the end of next season.

    Our rotation could be –> Sabathia, Sheets/Garland, Jurrjens, Campillo, and Morton

    Maybe Sheets and CC is a bit optimistic, but with $40 million, it’s a possibility. We need to get back to pitching (look at the Angels).

    As for the lineup, we need to get more speed. Blanco has done a great job and deserves the CF and leadoff spot. Johnson is a good player and I hate to say this, but we should trade him. Supposedly, he was the most-asked about player last offseason, and he could be again this offseason. If he could net a young power-hitting prospect or young stud starting pitcher, it would be worth letting him go. Then, we bring up Lillibridge who has the same pop but is a better fielder and has more speed. Chipper will be the 3 guy as always (we need to keep Infante to be the utility guy). As for 4, whoever said McCann is a double-play waiting to happen, how many 4’s aren’t a double-play waiting to happen. Tex wasn’t fast by any stretch. What we need is a Adam Dunn-type for LF (damn Pirate owners for not taking our deal), but if we spend money on pitching, which we need to do, we won’t have the money for a person here unless Liberty Media comes through on their promise to increase payroll (I doubt it). McCann wouldn’t be the worst option, but the problem is that at catcher he won’t play as much as a normal 4 guy. He fits better at five. 6 belongs to Kotchman who should start to develop more power, but I don’t see much more than 20 HR next season (remember that Angels Stadium is not a hitter’s park). At 7, we can have Franceour. Trading him now is a bad idea (like trading Bay last offseason would have been) because we would be selling low. For those of you who seem to forget so quickly, Franceour made a big step forward last season by gaining in BA and OBP. This season, he has taken three steps back, but if McCann can get through to him over the offseason, he might be able to turn around. He’s only 24, but if he has trouble again next season, we can’t keep him. At 8, should be Johnson/Lillibridge.

    Our lineup –> Blanco, Escobar, Jones, slugger?, McCann, Kotchman, Francoeur, Lillibridge

    Not terrible if the 4 slot is filled.

    The bullpen could look worse, but there are no certainties. I like Gonzalez as the closer. If we shut down Soriano now, he might be healthy enough to be the set-up guy next season. Hopefully, Moylan can come back in May. Boyer has done well, but we can’t put him in too many big situations. Acosta could be better by then for low-leverage situations. Bennett has been fantastic, and we should keep him as the long reliever. We need a lefty, but I think Ohman might take the money and run to another team (maybe bring up Rohrbough to take this? It’s a bit of a stretch, but he’s supposedly going to be a reliever anyway).

    If we aren’t big players in FA this offseason, we should all march on Turner Field and remove Wren from office.

  29. I don’t care about body type, much, but I do care about workload; Sabathia has pitched a whole lot at a very young age. His workload compares to guys like Gooden and Saberhagen, who broke down as they were entering what should have been their prime years.

  30. True, but do you want Jo Jo pitching or CC? Personally, I think we need to make a bold move with the money we have, or we’re not going to spend it at all. If Huddy was going to be healthy, I would say just bring in Garland, and try hard to give Sheets 3 years at 16 mil a season. Maybe we can still do just that, but I think Sabathia is still the better option. Maybe his larger body will help him withstand the increased workload.

  31. I am not in favor of a long term (even 3 or 4 years) deal on Garland. The problem the Braves have had and continue to have in free agency is trying to “buy pieces”. Our Minor League, returning, and returning bench guys give us plenty of “pieces.” We need somebody to generate Win Shares at or above All-Star level. I would rather pay 20 to Sabathia for 6 years and 15 to Sheets for 4 years rather than 13 for Garland for 4 years.

    We can trade for a Garland.

    Will Liberty understand that they have to pony up to protect their ability to sell this assemblage favorably in 3 years (they have a mandated 4 year holding period under the tax code)? Time will tell.

  32. The next Tuesday game on Peachtree TV will be a tribute to Skip. Based on what Chip said on the radio this morning, they may have the public memorial on Monday or Tuesday.

    I’d love to have Manny. Unfortunately, he’s staying with the Dodgers or going to the Angels. Everyone knows he was posturing to get out of the Club Options on his Red Sox contract. That ended up being part of the deal. He waived his no-trade clause in exhcange for those options going away. He could get a 5 year contract at $20MM per.

    Don’t want C.C either. Too many innings. He’s poised for an arm blowout.

  33. Mark @ 30,

    No offense but what universe are you living in where the Braves sign CC,Sheets, and Garland? Take me with you. That’s more like a fantasy league.

  34. I think he was just saying either one of Sheets or Garland. Still, I think getting Sabathia AND Sheets is a bit of a pipe dream.

  35. Realistically are we looking at Odalis Perez as the type of SP we would sign as a FA?

  36. Maybe not the best example… but someone that’s sort of young, sort of cheap, and sort of shows competence sometimes. Or do y’all think we’ll just go with the farm? Or is Wren scheming, trying to trade for a SP with a couple of years left on his contract?

  37. i was looking at the lineup last night and as usual it was full of replacements but all the avgs. were decent low being .266 of blancos but he walks like everytime so thats cool and then theres Frenchy .231 wow having his ass kicked by replacements can i see Josh Anderson please who is twice as fast as him and doesn’t swing at ball 3ft out of the strike zone

  38. I’m very skeptical that the Braves can contend next year or in the next several years and I’m not sure that signing big-time free agents, especially pitchers, is the best thing in the long run. If you look at the Braves lineup, it is now substantially worse than it was at the beginning of the year. Whatever you think of the trade, Kotchman is clearly a significant downgrade from Teixera, Chipper, while still a terrific player is, for all practical purposes, a part-timer, and the outfield is a disaster, especially in RF. The pitching staff has no ace for next year (unless Smoltz makes a miraculous recovery) and is, at this point, dependent on a very young pitcher (Jurrjens), a guy from the Mexican League who no one knows how old he is, and a bunch of journeymen. Reyes and Morton have both showed promise at times but are far from finished products and Hampton is . . .well, Hampton, and Glavine is 42.

    To fill all these holes in an offseason would take, it seems to me, a miracle or, at least, a lot more money than the Braves are likely to spend, even with a lot of money coming off the books. Signing CC and/or Sheets is risky because, even aside from the money, they are almost certainly going to demand (and probably get) five or six year deals. At any rate, there is no particular reason to think the Braves have the inside track at either one. And, other than the pitchers, I don’t see what hitters are available–are the Braves going to pay $20 million for Manny?

    I don’t know what the hell they should do.

  39. work out some magic with the Rays.

    They’re in desperate need of some veteran leadership. We do have some “vets” that would be a nice addition.

    heck, alot of us were calling for a complete overhaul LAST offseason. Wren, it seems, is a year too late.

    We have Chipper. He’s a player who would LOVE to finish his career a winner, in his home state, and then come be the Braves Hitting Coach when he finished.

    so, i propose:

    LHP Jake McGee
    RHP Wade Davis
    SS Reid Brignac

    for

    3B Chipper Jones
    LHP Chuck James

    Longoria started as a SS in the minors, and I’m pretty sure that the Rays would be HAPPY with Chipper’s game and leadership and Bat.

    I know that the Rays won’t do it, but if I was Wren, I would have to think AWFULLY hard about this one.

    Next:

    Trade with the Brewers

    3B Mat Gamel

    for

    LHP Jo-Jo Reyes
    3B Eric Campbell

    Look here, the Brewers WONT do this. But they have TONS of positional players and need MLB ready arms for their system. They have 1 in their top ten. And who in their right mind thinks that the Brewers will have a snowball’s chance in hell of signing EITHER CC or Sheets? Campbell needs a change of scenery. They can afford to do this.

    Now, that gets us YOUNG and a none of this will happen, but I need to believe that Wren is doing something other than making us crap. I have to believe that something will get done. I have to believe that this is just a blip. Otherwise, I’m going to dig the Pirates. They’ve got players who are fun as hell to watch (McClouth might now be my favorite plyaer in the MLB).

  40. I’m glad chris is around. Otherwise, I might be in the running for Craziest FA/Trade Proposer.

  41. I agree that Sheets and Sabathia are too big of risk for ATL to take in the offseason, especially given that they will command at least 15m each.

    What about Derek Lowe? Yes, he is old (35) but he could be a valuable innings eater for us in the middle of our rotation that will most surely have several developing young/ineffective players that can be taxing on the bullpen as we saw last season.

    Given the value of starting pitching in today’s game, almost any FA move for a pitcher is risky. Of course signing someone like C.C. Sabathia would be great, as many have already mentioned–he has been worked very hard throughout his 8-year career, and arm troubles/injury seem almost inevitable, esp. considering his makeup (size).

    I hate to be pessimistic, but the outlook doesn’t look great for us next year, either—we don’t have much in way of pitching or offense, esp. after losing Tex, Chipper being hurt all the time, and the total suckiness of the OF.

  42. 42 — ha!

    43 — bamachum, I too was wondering if Lowe wouldn’t be a bad pickup for the same reason. But it would really depend on the price AND the outlook for the next few years. If healthy, I think he could be a decent “bridge” type of piece as a guy to be decent enough for a couple of years as the Braves either work on acquiring or developing an ace (or two, or three?). If that’s not realistic, then do we go young… throw as many good arms at the wall and see if anyone sticks?

  43. I like pipe dream trade scenarios.

    So Frenchy’s value is so low, we’d probably only be able to expect a similarly flawed (yet formerly touted prospect) player in return, right? Well, could Rickie Weeks play CF? And, could he ever start to hit consistently?

  44. c. shorter,
    Combining both of your sentiments in 48, how about Francoeur, Reyes & KJ to the Brew Crew for Hart & Weeks?

  45. Here’s a dream…we’ll win with offense. Sign Lowe, Manny Ramirez, and Adam Dunn and move him to 1B. Here’s your lineup:

    Blanco/L
    Escobar/R
    Jones/S
    Dunn/L
    Ramirez/R
    McCann/L
    Johnson/L
    Francoeur/R

    Bench: Infante/Schafer/Sammons/Lillibridge/Diaz

    Not much in the way of defense.

    Rotation:
    Jurrjens/Lowe/Campillo/Reyes/Morton

    We can just outscore people with our Dodgers/Red Sox rejects.

  46. Honestly, we just need to sign a power-hitting OF, Sabathia, and trade for/sign some middle-of-the-rotation guy like Garland or Lowe. That’s about, what, $35M in payroll, which it seems is doable. We may also be only giving up talent to grab a middle-of-the-rotation starter, which won’t mortgage the future. Sabathia is essentially your only risk, and he’s a lot better than a Sheets or Prior or someone with a history of injuries.

    Blanco
    Escobar
    Chipper
    Dunn?
    McCann
    Kotchman
    Johnson
    Francoeur

    Sabathia/Jurrjens/Lowe/Campillo/Reyes with insurance of James, Morton, Bennett, and anyone else that may show up.

    Bullpen: I don’t frickin’ know. Gonzalez and pray for an earthquake.

    Looks like a team that can win, and we’re not forced to try Brandon Jones or Lillibridge or Schafer or anyone else.

  47. That’s exactly what I suggested a few days ago, Rob. (http://bravesjournal.us/?p=3682#comment-193134)

    Yeah, it’s risky, but at least it would theoretically keep us in contention. It’s not like we’re developing 3 future aces in the minors right now—if we want an ace, we’re going to have to buy one or trade for one that’s already expensive.

    I think people are a bit gun-shy because of the crazy rash of injuries this season. (1) Our luck can’t get any worse. (2) We’re not going to be relying on multiple 40 year-olds next season. I personally think paying for either Sabathia or Sheets (or both!) is worth the risk.

  48. Is everybody else writing off Smoltz?

    Losing Skip and Smoltz in the same year is just too much …

  49. Checking link… hmm, checks out. I like it! I also like how we both used “doable” to describe this task.

    Now, since then, Bay’s been traded to a team who will probably not trade us Bay. So unfortunately, I think he’s out of the picture. I like Dunn and Burrell, and I’d imagine Burrell would be a little cheaper.

    I, however, would prefer not to sign Sheets. I know he’s a definite #1-type starter, but I’d rather go for someone who isn’t that likely to be injured. I think we’ve learned our lesson with high-injury-risk, high-upside players (Chipper, Smoltz, even Hampton if you wanna say he’s high-upside). Unfortunately, Sabathia is not much better, but I still like him more than Sheets. Plus, Jurrjens, Lowe, Garland, Campillo, Morton, and Bennett are all righties. Reyes is our only lefty.

  50. Well, Smoltz is still alive and will almost certainly be “around”…I just don’t think anyone wants to count on him for anything. At least not yet.

  51. Obviously, Bay is out of the picture. That list was nothing more than naming some examples of what we could see available at the time I wrote it. I’d prefer Sabathia to Sheets, too, but I’m thinking Sheets will make substantially less money, and I’d rather have Sheets than no ace. I know many here disagree.

  52. Oh, well Sabathia would be the only person I’d want more than Sheets. If Sabathia isn’t obtainable, I’d rather have Sheets than no ace at all. If anyone thinks Jurrjens is our ace, then I think they don’t place too much fear in the Sophomore Slump. Oh, that and he’s never been projected as a staff ace.

  53. I wasn’t making a joke, Rob. I was saying that the comparison of the loss of Skip to the loss of Smoltz is off base.

  54. Haha, I know, Stu. I was kidding too.

    I think Hank means losing both Smoltz and Skip from the public eye. Obviously, it’s for two different reasons.

  55. Yeah, I know what he means, but I don’t really like the comparison, is what I was (and am now for the third time) trying to say.

  56. Since we are all depressed, or delirious with visions of Sabathia, I’ll go ahead and point out that Chipper will soon drop out of batting title contention. Right now, he projects to 495 A/B, not enough to qualify.

  57. If he can stay a little more healthy than he has been, he should be fine. I sure hope so. There’s gotta be something going for us this year.

  58. CF Grady Sizemore
    LF Josh Hamilton
    RF Jason Bay
    3B Chipper Jones
    SS Alex Rodriguez
    2B Chase Utley
    1B Mark Teixeira
    C Brian McCann

    UTIL Yunel Escobar
    Other P/H:
    KJ
    Veteran clutchy guy
    Adam Dunn
    Ken Griffey, Jr.
    Anyone other than Corky Miller

    Pitchers:

    Greg Maddux mk. 1995
    Pedro Martinez mk. 1999
    Roger Clemens mk. 1990
    Warren Spahn mk. 1953
    Bob Gibson mk. 1968

    bullpen:
    Moylan
    Stockman
    Gonzalez
    2 other really good pitchers

  59. I realize that I’m being a bit optimistic. However, I don’t think Sabathia and Sheets are a pipe dream, but we won’t have any money left for anything else. I agree on Garland that paying him that much for that number of years would probably be counter-productive, but I wouldn’t bring in Lowe instead of him. They’ll both command around the same money I would think, and they’re the same pitcher with Garland being six or seven years Lowe’s junior. As for Jair not being projected to be an ace, projections are crap. Webb was supposed to be a 5 at best. Look how that turned out. I also agree with 55 in that people are a bit gun-shy. I don’t think our entire rotation will implode like this year. This year, we had a bunch of forty year-olds that we depended on for 200+ IP. I think we’ve learned our lesson there … maybe. I’d still give the money and years to CC and Sheets. We need front-line pitching like breathing oxygen.

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