113 thoughts on “I hate split double-headers game thread: Aug. 13, Cubs at Braves (1)”

  1. From the last thread: Stu, I completely agree. I’ve never been a big fan of the Olympics but the swimming this time around has captured me. That 4 X 100 relay was also one of the most phenomenal sporting events I’ve ever seen. I’m also psyched for the U.S. basketball games against Greece and Spain, the possible Nadal-Federer Final, and the Tyson Gay 100 meter.

  2. It’s also nice to see the AJC leading with stories about Francoeur’s benching. Just keep throwing those numbers up there. My question is: how can the Braves have Francoeur already penciled in for the 2009 RF spot when he’s losing time to Gregor Blanco amidst a lost 2008 season?

    There are basically three huge holes in the lineup and two-to-three huge holes in the rotation. $40 million can’t come close to solving that. If they’re gonna compete in 2009, they’re gonna trade some assets, and that might mean blue chip minor leaguers.

  3. You know, “PWNED” is stupid enough as it is, but when you misspell it like I did in the previous thread, you really look ridiculous.

  4. KC–From the previous thread: I have no doubt that the games mean a great deal to the athletes and I generally enjoy seeing their achievements. However, the games have been taken over by political agendas of different types. Without going nto more depth about it, this is as true in 1936 as in 2008. The 1980 and 1984 Olympics are also cases in point.

    With respect to Frenchy, maybe the Braves’ front office is finally waking up; I had believed that he had to go below the Mendoza line before they would contemplate an alternative in RF for 2009….

  5. It’s also nice to see the AJC leading with stories about Francoeur’s benching. Just keep throwing those numbers up there. My question is: how can the Braves have Francoeur already penciled in for the 2009 RF spot when he’s losing time to Gregor Blanco amidst a lost 2008 season?

    Based on the AJC articles, and there’s also been an article on the MLB site the past couple of days, I think the Braves have gotten the eraser out…

  6. I think just about every club will have holes in their rotation. I don’t think it will happen, but I’d like to see us try to move Soriano to starter, Smoltz to the bullpen (assuming this is best for his arm) and sign a #1 starter. This would give us:

    #1 starter (Ben Sheets or Sabathia hopefully)
    Jurrjens
    Soriano
    Campillo
    Morton
    (Depth = Reyes, James, maybe Hanson, hopefully Hudson will be avaialable late in the year)

    It would be preferable to get another starter, but I don’t want to gut our team for someone. I think one ace and a 4th or 5th starter type (young with a big upside) will be sufficient for starting pitching – espcially with Soriano’s health issues.

    As for the OF, Adam Dunn or someone similar and a young guy with loads of potential would be a strong upgrade. I think $40 – 50 mil would do the whole package – pitcher(s) and OF (also assuming we lose some salaries in a trade).

    This wouldn’t give us a “can’t miss” team, but hopefully we wouldn’t have the injury issues of this year. I still think we need to address management (Cox), but this would at least give us a chance, depending a lot on how Jurrjens, Morton and Campillo do . I think our infield will be okay (even if Infante or Prado replace KJ – not preferable).

  7. One thing I’m terrified of is the Braves believing Derek Lowe is an ace and spending a lot of money on him.

  8. With Morton, Reyes, Hanson, James, Carlyle, Bennett, all around, the back end of the rotation is not the problem.

    Also, even if Smoltz doesn’t try to gouge the Braves (and he has been fair to more than fair in the past), IF he is a closer I don’t see him going for less than 8 million. Last night on Peachtree he said about 3 times he WOULD pitch next year. I am very concerned that he will be a black hole.

    I am a KJ supporter. I feel like he is going to be “near Utley”. But, I expect him to be gone now because of all of the general MI depth in the organization (Diroy Hernandez, Lillibridge, Infante,) and the fact that some of the “smart teams” (Red Sox, A’s) might offer enough for him to move him. IF we keep KJ, the first added bat HAS to be righthanded.

    Schafer still may make it by next year (but will probably need a RIGHT HANDED platoon partner). Gorkys and Heyward could be up by 2010. STILL that is all we have for outfielders.

    We need (1) a #1 or near #1 starter (and Lowe isn’t that) AND a premium right handed bat. AND don’t tie up payroll on lesser issues if those aren’t resolved (unless you punt 2009 and load for 2010).

  9. From the last thread, sort of:

    The Braves need more than a stop-gap corner outfielder. Frankly, I don’t see any Braves minor league outfielders that can fill the need for a power bat plus adequate defense. No potential free agent outside of Manny, who is not a defender, is worth $15-20M per year for five plus years. Ergo, I fear it will be necessary to trade for a quality outfield bat, quality being defined as healthy, still in or approaching his prime, and under team control for a few more years.

    What is worse, I don’t see what the Braves have to offer without stripping next year’s rotation that could exact such a stud in trade. KJ and Esco might net someone that meets the criteria for quality set above, but that someone would probably cost twice as much as our best middle infield options combined.

  10. Lowe is old and his good years are behind him. Hopefully Wren’s learned his lesson by signing old starters

  11. I don’t see any evidence that Lowe is done. At the same time, I wouldn’t sign him for more than 3 years/$8 million per, and I’m sure he’ll get more than that.

  12. okay, so all we need this offseason is a LF, RF, #1 SP, #2 SP, new manager, better hitting, better bench, and a larger payroll

    Is it just me, or is anyone else afraid that Frenchy might hit a couple of bombs and hit around .250-.260 the rest of the way?? This would probably be enough for the Braves Brass to keep him around next year. Seriously Bobby, put him in there against Harden. We need his avg to get below .215

  13. I think the csg is the terorrist. He’s a member of al-Quainegative.

    I’m sorry. That was really bad.

  14. Lowe would be a valuable pitcher, for sure, but he’s not the ace we need. And if he were the only pitcher we acquired, that would essentially be a waste of (a lot of) money.

  15. Agreed, Mac. That’s part of why I suggested the trade route for any non-aces, because there are a lot of guys with Lowe- and Garland-like production who haven’t yet reached free agency and are therefore priced according to what the Braves can/will pay.

  16. From the last thread: Stu, I completely agree. I’ve never been a big fan of the Olympics but the swimming this time around has captured me.

    Well I’ve seen enough synchronized diving for a while, that’s for sure. How is that a sport? Why not synchronzined sprinting? Synchronized long jump? Makes no sense, but it sure is good for China’s medal count.

    I’m pretty sure we are cheating at swimming with our suit technology, but I’m also pretty sure China is cheating at gymnastics so I guess it all evens out.

  17. Let’s hope Liberty has a real good intermediate term view.

    That is, they want to sell in abut 3 years after the holding period runs. They want to get the best price obtainable. They know they have to get MLB to approve the new owner(s). There are only a few likely suitors.

    In recent years, there have been 2 types of buyers of major sports franchises: (1) Media corporations / conglomerates and (2) playful billionaires. The media companies buy for content and resale. The Braves broadcast rights are sold out 8 more years in advance (no Southeast Network Sports, get it). Plus media companies haven’t been as active in buying and more active in selling (Tribune is selling Cubs, TW just sold Braves, Fox sold Dodgeres 5 years or so ago).

    So, IF you want to sell a franchise to a playful billionaire, what is the WORST thing you can do. HAVE A LOSING TEAM (or at least one that doesn’t show promise of turning the corner). Therefore, a smart Liberty has to take a potential short term cash loss (or reduction in cash flow) to keep the team competitive without “throwing away the future.”

    I again say “hopefully” they raise payroll by 10 to 20 million.

    Is that realistic? Well, MLB Advanced Media as of last year had supposedly added 10 million per year in revenue to clubs. That should already have been added.

  18. What we don’t need to do with free agents is sign second tier guys unless we have already signed first tier guys. Mac is right in that an exception, sort of, may be signing first tier hitters and one or two second tier pitchers.

    I have no feel for what good hitters might be available in trade. Ditto for pitchers. Generally, you will be taking on some salary and giving up a young player with a ceiling as high as the guy you are trading for and at least one or two more young guys. Those ratios are not good for the Braves.

  19. I really can’t remember any other player who played every day for several years and then Bobby started platooning him partway through a bad year. Even Andruw wasn’t benched last year (to be sure he’s a much better defender than Jeff at a more important position). I like Jeff’s chances of being traded to Kansas City in the off season. Brandon Jones might not be any better a player than Jeff, but at least for the first few months it would be a relief to have him suck in RF rather than more of Jeff swinging at cap high fastballs.

  20. Do terrorists hate the Olympics? I’m confused.

    “What we don’t need to do with free agents is sign second tier guys unless we have already signed first tier guys.”

    Well, considering that no one on the board wants Burrell or Dunn for what they will ask, and considering that few would want Sabathia for $25 million per, which is what he could very well get from an AL East suitor, how is this gonna work? What first-tier guys are available via trade? The Braves are gonna sell the farm to get Bobby one last chance, and it’s gonna kill this organization. At least, that’s my fear.

    In other news, Chad Johnson is simultaneously the nuttiest and most entertaining guy in the NFL:

    http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/08/12/johnson-wants-to-be-ocho-cinco-legally/

  21. As a (very average) swimmer back in the high school days, I’ve always enjoyed the swimming events at the Olympics. But that relay was unreal. Lezak’s stroke is kinda ugly and a little slow (or, at least, not smooth) so I didn’t think he had a chance. Apparently he has a lot more power than I gave him credit for… because that last 50 was awesome. I was really affraid I was going to awake our neighbor’s newborn. Turns out they were screaming too.

  22. Little-known fact: terrorists do hate the Olympics. They’re required to — it’s in the charter. In a well-known incident in Athens 2004, several dozen terrorists got so into having Olympics nacho parties that they were expelled from their sleeper cells.

  23. I was at the Outback stakehouse for dinner with my wife last night when I came up with one of the worst jokes of all time. But if post 21 is a good indicator, then perhaps Rob will like it (heh heh).

    Q. What would (conditional of hypothetical unreality) Pete Moylan yell at Jeffrey if he were to take a high fastball?

    A. Good eye, mate!

  24. Also. Remember when we had Mark Teixeira? He was pretty good, and he will probably rank as the #1 free agent slugger on the market–ahead of Dunn and Manny. Do you recall what the Braves record was when he was on the team? Right. Most of the year, in fact, the Braves had Teixeira AND Hudson and they still were a .500 team. So now you’re telling me that next year, all they need are a corner outfielder and two starters to contend? Sorry, ain’t happening. They need way more than that. Adding a top flight starter and a slugger only gets them back to where they were in June. This team was never built to win more than 85 wins, except maybe with some luck (that Bobby kills with his out-giving), and all I see here are suggestions to get back to 85 wins without much of a window to do better down the road.

  25. I agree with you fully about Francoeur and Diaz Mac.

    Btw, the Braves list Saturday’s starter as “TBD”. Since this should be Hampton’s turn in the rotation, could it be that Iron Mike is ailing?

  26. A few guys are always going to underperform. If that sinks the whole team, you weren’t that good in the first place.

  27. There’s a difference between underperforming and what Diaz and Francoeur did/are doing. We’re all familiar with Francoeur, but Diaz was worse, and he was starting from a higher level. His batting average dropped 88 points, his OBP 98 points, and his SLG 186 points.

  28. Just wondering: Is there anything more potentially humiliating to the Braves than having Jason Marquis throw a perfect game against them?

    I know it’s early, but then again, going even one inning without getting a guy on base against Marquis is newsworthy in a bad way.

  29. It’s nice of Chip and Joe to mention the production the Cubs have gotten from their outfielders that they picked up for free every 30 seconds, while we’ve been saddled with the “production” we’ve gotten from our outfielders.

  30. Goodbye Charlie. I did not expect Bobby to get him THAT quickly.

    Stu, Escobar was hit by a pitch in the first, so it’s not a perfect game. Just a no hitter.

  31. That’s a pretty quick hook for the first game of a double-header. Like, obscenely quick.

    Which raises this question: Does Bobby know we have a second game tonight?

  32. If the franchise was being sold, the team record wouldn’t matter much. The capital and intangible assets (which are considerable and not particularly team-record-dependent) are what the purchaser is pursuing, and the long-term liabilities are what the purchaser is hoping to avoid. To prep a franchise for eventual sale, the best thing to do is a Marlins-style fire sale. If Liberty was selling.

  33. oh, yeah, we are still playing baseball in 2008. Figuring out whether we can be good again in 2009 or wait for the 2010-2011 wave is so much more interesting, though…

    Myrtle Beach and Rome have so many good players, right now. if Schaeffer can recover and Kaahlue can keep his MLB strike-outs below 30%, we may have something in a few years.

  34. bigger question…Does Bobby know we are playing baseball right now?

    seriously, whats the point in trying to pull Morton out of the game that soon. Let the kid stay in there and throw 100 pitches or so and see what he does when he gets in trouble. Its not like this team is going to pull off a Colorado stunt and win 20 out of 22 or anything like that

  35. So let the young pitcher continue to struggle and pile up a couple more 30 pitching innings? No thanks.

    This game is over, let Buddy pitch the rest.

  36. And, as Chipper works the walk and Pimpbot strides to the dish, I say again, this is the guy I’d want at bat in this situation.

    And it’s such a wonderful feeling to know that Francoeur isn’t lurking anywhere in the lineup.

  37. anyone else tired of Kotchman yet?

    Never strikes out but never seems to hit the ball hard, either. Dude, this isn’t t-ball; making contact isn’t the be all and end-all.

  38. Coop – you found it necessary to repeat twice that we have no outfielders coming out of our farm system. I don’t see how you could be more wrong.

    Likely as it is that we will have Gorkys and Heyward ready in 2010 and Schafer sooner, I am not sure I would be opposed to offering a shorter, but more per annum contract to one of the top outfield FAs.

    Any thoughts?

  39. Also, somebody said that the US swimmers we cheating. Is there some suit design rule they have presumably broken?

  40. That’s a world class ejection there. Thrown out by the third base ump while never leaving your seat. Don’t try that one a home.

  41. Joe West (surprised?) held the game up last inning because someone turned the lights on while the Braves were hitting (against the rules), then held the game up again because he wanted them on to start the next inning. The first stoppage coincided with the rally fizzing out. I assume Bobby just enjoys any chance to tell Joe West to “F you” which – if you can read lips – he did several times.

  42. Robert — the real problem, I think, was that West could have signaled for the lights to come on any time, but he waited till the TV cameras switched back on, so that he could make his magisterial slow walk to the mound and delay everything.

    Bobby was ticked, because of course West could have done that while Nunez was still making warmup throws, instead of getting him out of rhythm just to appear on TV.

  43. Why was Carlyle taken out after two innings? It’s not like we might need our bullpen later today, or anything.

  44. Unfortunately, Nunez doesn’t fit the description of bullpen help in any way. This could get ugly.

  45. per Peanut, not surprising either

    There were just 32 players who combined for 200 RBIs during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Among that group, Francoeur ranked last in both slugging percentage (.446) and on-base percentage (.315).

  46. Remember that time Arizona traded Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for a decent minor league first baseman? Wish we could’ve gotten in on that.

  47. another game where the Braves look like they should be playing in Williamsport………maybe. another nice vintage video mac. now it sounds like the most insensitive treatment a Muddy Waters song ever got, but i loved it when i was 16.

  48. wow-another productive out by Kotchman.

    Question-if some guy on a message board (think factory), on the day after the trade, said that it looked like Kotchman was getting way out on his front foot instead of keeping his weight back, making him hit a bunch of weak ground balls to the right side, why couldn’t the guys who get paid to look at that sort of stuff figure that out, too?

  49. Never commented before on this blog, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned…

    Francoeur is the 4th worst player in all of baseball this year, according to BP’s VORP:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=311822

    The only worse players this year are Tony Pena (having perhaps one of the worst seasons of all time), Andruw, and Wily Mo. Since Jeffy is -16 VORP, we could theoretically replace him with *anyone* playing right in AAA and be perhaps a game or two better. Incredible.

  50. And, of course, Frenchy has played more than all of them, which means that while he’s played marginally better than they have — produced slightly better value per at-bat — his team has been so unforgivably stupid as to let him have all those at-bats to murder the team with.

  51. 6th worst is Corey Patterson. Told ya so! Raise your hand if you wanted the Braves to get him before the season….

  52. well, I guess the best thing long-term for us is to heave these guys out there with no future, to protect the arms of the players on the roster who might be able to help us 3 years from now. That will make for an ugly September, but 70-92 or 74-88-who cares?

    Frenchie has been remarkably bad; it will be a true test of this organization to try and get him some help and direction in the off-season. he has too much natural ability to let him continue to founder.

  53. I guess we’d probably have about 3-4 more wins with Josh Anderson or Brandon Jones in right?

    seriously though, with Frenchy’s day/night splits, it probably would’ve been smarter to start him today vs Marquis over tonight vs Harden….0-4 is the same either way I guess

  54. Who would the Braves have traded to land Hamilton? They certainly didn’t have a sick young hurler ready for the bigs, let alone one ready to come up and be among the best pitchers in baseball.

    Anyway… Mac, are you saying you’d rather have Tony Pena than Francoeur? Because that would be awesome.

    On the Diaz/Francoeur drop-offs, yes, I admit that the collective fall was monumental, but this team still was never going to be better than last year’s record–not once Smoltz went down, which was always a distinct possibility. I predicted it last winter and I will always believe that. As for next year, we’ll see… I just hope we don’t rely on Morton, Reyes, or James for much of anything.

  55. I don’t think Edinson Volquez’s stock was that high at the time of the trade. Maybe the Reds knew; maybe they got lucky.

    Maybe, both teams got lucky.

  56. They were both troubled but incredibly talented guys. But hey, I’m with you, I’d love to have him. I just don’t think the Braves would have been able to give the Reds pitching, which is what they wanted.

  57. I think Frenchie has great bat speed, has a great arm and is a very good athlete.

    I think he lacks fundamental strike zone judgment and isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

    We need to take advantage of the good stuff he has.

  58. His arm is strong but inaccurate, and despite his “athleticism” he’s not really all that fast. His bat speed is pretty good, but his swing is way too long, and he has a degenerative eye condition.

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