60 thoughts on “Stupid wraparound series game thread: Aug. 18, Giants at Braves”

  1. I know we have troubles with lefties, but we absolutely have to light Barry Zito up today correct?

    Barry Zito – why signing big name free agents doesn’t guarantee you anything besides a higher payroll.

  2. Responding to some comments sent my way over the weekend when I was away from my computer:

    Saw the SI article and thought it was great. (Big surprise, huh?) Pretty hard not to like David Price. Actually, I’d think it’s pretty hard not to cheer for a university that produces athletes/men like Price, Shan Foster, Brandt Snedeker, and others.

    PS: The story about Price wanting to quit and work at McDonald’s struck me as pretty strange, though, and quite possibly exagerrated. I mean, this is a kid who turned down a $1.9M signing bonus to attend Vanderbilt. It’s hard to believe he’d be ready to actually walk away just like that.

    Yeah, I had been keeping up with all of our baseball commitments’ respective journeys to signing day.

    Re: Esposito, he turned down the Royals’ money a while ago. His story is a good one if you’re a VU fan. He and his parents originally set his number at $1.3 million, believing no team would be willing to match it, since he had every intention of coming to school. Then KC drafts him in the 7th round and offers him that amount. He says he guesses he’s going pro. Only he changes his mind and says he’d rather go to school. KC then went as high as $1.5 million over a month ago, but he didn’t budge. They never went any higher than that, to my knowledge.

    Re: Westmoreland, his dad played Corbin, apparently, using the Vanderbilt scholarship to leverage as much out of the hometown team as he could (after scaring off all other suitors with bonus demands). It appears as though Ryan’s father engineered a situation whereby Ryan would come to VU only if Boston didn’t draft him and offer him $1.5 million or more. And, apparently, they knew it was unlikely that Boston wouldn’t oblige. Too bad—he likely would have been our starting CF and leadoff hitter from day one.

    (How’d you like to be Pete Hissey, the 4th-round selection of the Red Sox—also a high school CF—who took half of what Westmoreland did a round later to forego his UVA scholarship? Ouch.)

    Prior to this season, Corbin had lost only 2 signees (Kyler Burke and Kyle Waldrop) to the draft in his entire tenure with VU, and this year, he lost three (Hewitt, Milligan, and Westmoreland). The pros are starting to figure out that targeting (and really spending on) the kids Corbin targets might be a good idea. Should be interesting to see if/how the recruiting strategy changes going forward.

  3. Mac,
    I’ve stopped receiving email notification of the new threads. Any idea what’s up with that?

  4. To respond to posts from the last thread:

    I fully understand that nobody expected Diaz to collapse and Francoeur to regress the way he did, and that it was reasonable to expect at least league average offensive production out of that opening day outfield. I, for one, have spent two years hoping Diaz would get more playing time, defense be damned.

    My point, though, is that little has been done to address the core problems, and they should have been. Finding great players for reasonable costs is really hard. Finding average players to round out the roster should not be as hard. The point is that the Braves didn’t do that, for reasons that range from the team’s myopic reliance on Francoeur to Wren’s bizarre infatuation with Norton. I absolutely loved the Jurrjens trade at the time, and I liked that for Ohman/Infante as well. Wren has done some good, no question. But his inability to address, mid-season, the issues affecting the club, concerns me. It’s not that he should have seen the woes coming; it’s that he didn’t address them when they came.

  5. Adam, it’s the flip side of Bobby’s patience and loyalty. That’s paid lots of dividends dating back to when they didn’t remove Smoltz from the rotation when he was 2-11 and he helped carry the team to the World Series. The Braves have repeatedly given their established players a chance to get out of slumps and it’s worked out for the best.

    The problem is that even at his best, Francoeur was not that good, and that if Diaz isn’t hitting .300 he’s worthless. If the Braves had been proactive and replaced them early on, this season might have gone rather differently — though it still would have gone off the rails when Hudson got hurt, something they couldn’t have predicted.

  6. Those two aren’t the only ones who regressed, though. Yunel hasn’t been the same after his injuries, and Kelly has been awful. A lot of the players who had great years last year fell apart.

  7. KJ has not been awful. He hasn’t been as good as he was last year, but he’s been an average hitter overall, which means he’s above-average for a second baseman, and he’s (by far) the team’s best defender at the position, though that’s not saying a whole lot in a universe in which Prado exists.

  8. So does that mean we’re unlikely to be able to work a trade for Kotsay since no one wants him?

  9. I wouldn’t go with “awful” for KJ, but I would say that he’s been mildly disappointing.

    I’d think it’s pretty hard not to cheer for a university that produces athletes/men like Price, Shan Foster, Brandt Snedeker, and others.

    Oh, it’s pretty easy. ;)

    Actually, I always root for Vandy when they’re not playing the Dawgs. No brainer.

  10. So what was the verdict here about Smoltz’s broadcasting the other night? other places say it was good :?

  11. ububba,
    Your KJ assesment is fair and true. He’s definitely not done what I thought he’d do this year.

    I manage to go weeks without thinking about Vandy at all.

    Perhaps this explains the bitterness that’s at the forefront of so many of your writings, Mac.

  12. I bet Smoltz’s VOLTRON rating wasn’t good in the booth. There isn’t an announcer in the world that would please most people.

    I would like to hear Smoltz call games though.

    How much longer will Kotsay be a Brave? I say 48 hours.

  13. If the Braves are smart, they’ll pick up most of his contract (which they aren’t actually paying anyway, since the A’s are actually on the hook — they’re trying to get paid twice, basically) and get a real prospect for him. He’s a good fit for several teams, notably the Skanks.

  14. Actually, the A’s paid $5.2 million of the $7.2 million Kotsay was owed this season. Prorated, the Braves owe something like $500K. Pocket change. Eat that, get something worthwhile.

  15. We’ll be able to trade him — eventually we basically have to, if we want anything for him at all — but if we don’t offer to pick up some of his salary, it won’t be much.

  16. one thing about ole Bobby, even when we’re 12 games under .500, he can still screw up a lineup card. Seriously, Infante at cleanup and not McCann??

  17. Not sure who the Skanks are (that must have gone to glossary before my time) but if that is the same as the “team formerly knows as the Devil Rays” then, yes, they have a need for a better than decent outfielder.

    I agree I would rather have a player at mid to lowlevel than the money. Then give the upper guys some ML at bats before the season is out.

  18. LaRoche (Adam) had a good game to end the Met’s win streak… You know… when you compare Kotchman to LaRoche I see more why people are unhappy with him, he’s statistically worse than Adam in the “normal” stats… and we could’ve just kept Adam for the last couple years and brought in other pieces instead of dumping prospects and money on Tex for a couple years. Great, now I’m depressed.

    BTW: I didn’t love or hate LaRoche when he was here and thought he was serviceable at the time (by the end of his Braves tenure anyway).

  19. Also, does anybody have the slightest Earthly idea of why in the hell this game is a 4:30 start?

  20. Brilliant there by Infante. I do much prefer it when they throw the ball into the stands when forgetting how many outs there are, though, instead of just running in.

  21. How would you address the mid-season issues this club has? There are so many. You couldn’t get enough pitching to cover the losses of Hudson, Smoltz, Glavine, Soriano, Moylan. You couldn’t find two outfielders that could address the weakness on the corners.

    People would be moaning about emtpying out the farm for a second half run. There was no way Wren could address all of the needs.

    Look at the Skanks, they brought in a whole slew of players and they are still 9.5 out. The better choice is the one made, which is saving the money and prospects for next year and beyond.

  22. Really nice play by Kotchman there, although he’s lucky he didn’t take a kneelift to his head. I had visions of Mr. Wrestling #2…

  23. @8 The loyalty thing falls apart a little with Diaz, who went down early enough for the position to be salvaged. Plus, Kotsay was out for some time, leaving Gregor Blanco, Greg Norton, Josh Anderson, et al., to play a lot. Even if Bobby demonstrated his admirable loyalty to Francoeur–misplaced on him it may have been–the Braves still left two outfield spots below league average for several months. When you add up the black hole in RF with that of LF, Wren still looks bad. But hey, yeah, the season never would have amounted to anything without Hudson and Smoltz. My point merely related to Wren.

  24. I dunno, the Braves tried a lot of players in left, it’s just that none of them really succeeded. They’ve used seven leftfielders and six rightfielders this season.

  25. How would you address the mid-season issues this club has? There are so many.

    Very true. The team was not well constructed to begin with but in the end it wouldn’t have mattered. The big injuries to the key guys would have sunk even the best constructed roster.

  26. Off-topic:

    Nice words about Schafer from Kevin Goldstein over at BP. I never lost faith. :-)

    “Jordan Schafer, CF, Double-A Mississippi (Braves)
    It hasn’t exactly been a year to remember for Schafer, who began his season with a 50-game suspension for his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. He did little upon his return, but in many ways those first weeks back were almost like his spring training, as he got his timing down while dealing with the distraction and embarrassment of his suspension. Lately, though, he’s been looking like the Schafer that burst onto the scene last year, going deep on Sunday to up his August line to a 15-game mark of .333/.387/.632, and assuring that his season line is no longer hard to look at, as it’s now a more than respectable .263/.367/.443. The tools are still there, the production is coming, and any attempt to write him off was highly premature.”

  27. The thing about Prado… He can hit. He’s hitting .320 now. But he really can’t do anything else, and he’s not a good enough hitter (since he has next to no power) to play a position where his defense doesn’t matter. I don’t know what to do with him, but if you put him in the lineup at second base every day he’ll cost you a ton of runs.

  28. Adam-

    Blanco has been fine in CF. I don’t think we’ve had below-average production there at all this season. The real issue is Norton/whoever in LF and Frenchy in RF. You’re looking at two gaping black holes at power spots.

    Escobar hasn’t hit as well as he did last year, but the OBA is okay, and the defense more than makes up for any complaints you could have about his lack of power. The issues on offense come down to the reliance on Diaz as an every-day LF, the misplaced belief that Brandon Jones could step in and play in LF (which, FWIW, is something most prospect watchers also believed), and, of course, Frenchy being the 3rd-worse hitter in baseball.

  29. I’m fine with having one of Kotsay’s or Blanco’s bat in the OF, having both gives you no power at all. Combine that with the BLACK HOLE and you get the worst OF in the majors

    we are facing Barry Zito correct??

  30. The thing about the Braves… we can’t hit. We’re being one-hit by Barry Zito now. And we really can’t do anything else, and we’re not good enough hitters (since he have no power) to justify our awful defense. I don’t know what to do with this team, because our lineup can’t score any runs.

  31. Serious question, couldn’t they just, you know, improve him? Turn Glenn Hubbard loose on him all offseason and see what happens? It’s seems like if they really made it a priority for the organization they could at least make him passable. I bet if he were a first round draft pick from a southern state this would have happened already. He hits enough to play.

    Edit: Obviously I’m talking about Prado.

  32. It’s true. The Yankees have been unbelievably bad with runners on base, with Giambi & A-Rod leading the way to chokedom.

    Yeah, I see Prado as a utility guy, a valuable bat when needed. A Betemit who can’t field a lick.

  33. I would say they are trying to improve their draft position, but they’ll just take a high school GA prospect. They’ll probably select a player further down so they dont have to pay any kind of decent draft bonus to anyone. This team is pathetic in every aspect

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