218 thoughts on “Open thread for a new week”

  1. Ehhh..it was fair to partly cloudy.

    I feel better that Hanson is appearently not going to be traded for Peavy (although, I’d still be willing to give up a KJ/Schaefer package).

  2. I sure hope so, hankonly.

    Question: why does everyone think UK is gonna be so good this year? Patterson is certainly awesome, maybe the best player in the conference, but I would think losing Crawford and Bradley will really hurt.

  3. Helluva weekend. Amsterdam never disappoints, and I think the Dawgs just scored another big-play TD.

    Georgia/Florida. Let’s get it on.

    BTW, that’s an awesome James Brown clip, even though it’s that early’70s version with a different band. His band from the ’60s got tired of his iron-hand (onstage fines for missing cues, etc.) and they bailed on him for awhile.

    Here’s a clip with other band. It’s the end of a Boston Garden show the night after the MLK murder. It gets a little wild. Watch how Mr. Brown deals with it—and check out his band’s unrelenting groove.

  4. If Steele is healthy, Bama will be tough. If not, the East will have at least 5 teams better than any team in the West.

  5. As the resident Ole Miss fan I’ve got to agree with Braves14 that South Carolina should be above Ole Miss on the SEC power rankings.

    Its not a head to head thing. Its a more complete team thing. Nobody’s arguing that Ole Miss is better than Florida because they pulled of a fluke win. Head to head only counts with tie breakers.

  6. Did anyone catch Adrian Branch’s ESPNU preview of the ACC? He said Kyle Singler of d00k would be the ACC POY and that Tyler Hansbrough of UNC would NOT make First Team All-ACC.

    Really? The returning Wooden and Naismith Award Winner won’t make First Team All Conference? Okaaaaay….

  7. It’s not. I had a paper and a paper and a presentation and haven’t been able to do any other writing that took longer than two minutes. I’ll probably try to start writing up the horrible, horrible pitchers soon.

  8. Stu,

    If you watched the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, you probably remember the part where Gandolf casts out the demon that has left the King weak and passive.

    Our enthusiasm stems from the energy of our perceived reawakening. I refuse to get into a Tubby debate, but the days of losing to IU, Kansas and Vandy by more than 40 points are over.

    Patterson will be the best big man in the SEC. Jodie Meeks is healthy for the first time in a long time and, I believe, will be All-SEC when all is said and done.

    Other than that, we suddenly have a bunch of long, athletic players that Gillispie will deploy to achieve what Pitino’s early teams achieved – critical mass.

    We won’t be pretty and we certainly won’t make the Final Four, but we’ll be a tough out. Especially if one of the point guards steps up.

  9. . . . the days of losing to . . . Vandy by more than 40 points are over.

    That was under Gillispie.

    Anyway, yeah, Meeks is really good when healthy. We shall see.

  10. I’ve had better weekends. The Falcons failed miserably to take my mind off my horrible, horrible Vols. And in fact, the way the Falcons lost was more annoying than the way Tennessee lost. Keep in mind I didn’t say more depressing, just more annoying. Since the officials obviously had no clue what actually happened on that “muffed” punt and were just guessing, shouldn’t they be giving us the ball and waiting for the Eagles to challenge since they had freaking timeouts left instead of deciding the freaking game???

    I swear, officiating all over football (college and pros) has taken a sharp plunge in quality this year, and its quality was already extremely questionable. But I’m pretty sure that in every football game I’ve seen this year, there has been at least one call that I thought was just unacceptably awful, and in many cases that has shown a complete lack of understanding of the rules. For instance, in the Tennessee-Georgia game a couple weeks ago, the officials failed to give Georgia an automatic first down on a defensive holding call. It likely cost Georgia four points. And this was supposedly the premier officiating crew in the SEC. In the Falcons-Bucs game last month, Mike Smith actually had to explain the rules to a referee who was about to screw us over he had confused himself so thoroughly. And this was the same week as the Ed Hochuli incident and received no mention by anyone, even though it was arguably far worse than a referee accidentally blowing a whistle, knowing he had screwed up but not being able to do anything about it. At least Hochuli knew the rules. Anyway, every level of football needs to do something fast, lest football start to catch up with basketball as the worst-officiated sport.

    A quick note on Hanson: Here’s what I don’t get about nobody being willing to give him up for Peavy. Even if Hanson becomes the ace of our staff (and that’s by no means unanimous among scouts that that would happen BTW), only in our wildest dreams would he be as good as Jake Peavy. Peavy-level would be the absolute ceiling. He very likely would fall somewhere beneath that. So why would we not give him up for Jake Peavy when, at best, he’ll make Peavy’s level someday, but probably won’t. And I don’t buy the arm trouble thing. I think Hanson’s just as likely to blow a ligament at some point in his career as Peavy. You almost have to assume that every pitcher’s gonna do it once in his career at this point.

  11. So why would we not give him up for Jake Peavy when, at best, he’ll make Peavy’s level someday, but probably won’t.

    Cost. You can have Hanson and somebody like Derek Lowe for the same price as Jake Peavy, and those two are worth significantly more combined than Peavy is by himself.

  12. Also Greed.

    I’d love to have Peavy AND Hanson.

    ETA: Thinking ahead to 2010 – IF we can pull off a trade –



  13. Dammit, Seat Painter! Now I won’t be happy with anything less.

    How do we make it happen?

    I still think the a key to the deal is that it’s at least as much about money as it is prospects for the Padres. If we can add some fairy dust to the deal (Cover Boy, anyone?) and relieve them of mucho salary, we just might be able to keep Hanson, Esco and KJ.

  14. Nick,
    That defensive holding call in the UT/UGA game made me crazy for a minute. My girlfriend, who was in the other room, wanted to know why I was cussing at the TV. I had no rational answer.

    But I agree: I have seen some unreal calls & non-calls this year, just in Division 1. As for the NFL, I don’t need to discuss—the whole world is watching that.

    If the starting 5 stays healthy, UNC should stomp the competition & win the ACC regular season easily, and probably the ACC tournament.

    They’ll be heavily favored for the Big Dance, but it only takes one loss in the national tournament to ruin everything. If you’re a Carolina fan, I shouldn’t have to remind you of the history—but I will anyway.

    A few bad minutes of bad play (like UNC vs. Marquette in ’77, UNC vs. Indiana in ’84), an out-of-his-mind individual performance on the other (like Marquette’s Dwayne Wade vs. Kentucky in ’03) or an inspired collective performance (Villanova vs. UNC in ’85 or UGA vs. UNC in ’83—our One Shining Moment), and that’s all she wrote.

    I agree wholeheartedly that they should win. But better teams than this year’s UNC squad have lost in the big tourney—’77 UNC, ’83 UNC, ’85 Georgetown & ’91 UNLV come to mind—so don’t hand ’em any trophies just yet.

  15. Peavy’s career ERA away from Petco is 3.80, and last year it was 4.28. I’ve changed my mind — I don’t want him for what he’s likely to cost. I’m going back to my original “build for 2010 and beyond” template. Keep the kids. Sign Lowe and Ibanez to soak up payroll. Trade them both midseason, along with Kotchman and possibly KJ, for more kids. Proceed to build dynasty.

  16. That last step is key, sansho.

    PS: What if we could get Peavy for Hernandez/Morton/Flowers/Medlen/Locke or something like that? If you could keep our current middle infielders and Heyward, Hanson and Schafer. Would you bite then?

  17. No, I wouldn’t. I’d rather we be on the other end of any 3, 4 or 5 for 1 trades right now.

    Everybody wants an ace — I do, too. But it seems to me that there are comparatively fewer ace starters right now than just about anytime I can remember, and so they come at a hefty premium. That’s my lazy generalization, but until proven wrong I’m going to run with it.

  18. I don’t either, Smitty, but I’m trying to get a feel for how strong sansho’s aversion to Peavy has become.

    Like, is he not really worth his salary, let alone a few prospects?

  19. Turner Field is fairly neutral. Petco is the biggest pitcher’s park in either league.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see 3.60 ERAs from Peavy, Stu. I think he’s a #2 that’s been helped immensely by his home park.

    Edit again: I think he’d be worth three prospects, and given his reasonable contract I think he’d earn his keep. It’s as much a philosophical objection I have to obtaining him as a personal one.

  20. #25 – yeah, the non-call blew my mind. TN’s receiver was laying on McClains back. Easy call to make

  21. You probably can’t sign Lowe or Ibanez and trade them midseason. They’d have the opt-out option if you did that unless they only sign a 1 year deal, which they won’t, or unless they agree to not opt out as a condition of the deal.

    This isn’t NFL Madden on Xbox where you can just sign every free agent and trade them for draft picks.

    Also, I know no one was watching Michigan Michigan State, but the ref made a blatantly incorrect call, overturning on replay the correct call on the field. NCAA has a specific rule for exactly the play that happened (airborne player hits endzone pylon is out of bounds) and misstated it to the crowd that by rule its a touchdown. What a moron.

  22. Forgive my shorthand in my initial post. Let’s pretend I’m not a video game zombie for a second.

    Lowe and Ibanez are examples of players I believe might sign a two-year contract. There are three reasons for targeting a couple of players like this:

    1) They are decent players, and can help us remain competitive in ’09 while we look more seriously to the future.

    2) If by some miracle we are actually in contention in ’09, we can keep them around.

    3) If we are not in contention, what’s the problem in dealing them? They’ve got contracts through ’10. They’re old, neither has sniffed a ring in years, and would presumably jump at the chance to go to a contender.

  23. It’ll just affect their value, you may not get anything for them being under contract in 2010 because they could void the deal. It’d be as if you’re trading a player who’s contract expires. That’s not a big deal really as it happens all the time, but we’d be trading someone who has another year under contract for us and in exchange getting back parts traded as if our player was going UFA.

  24. Opt-outs aren’t an automatic part of a contract, are they? Are they even that common? I admit I don’t know. Even if they are included, who would exercise it unless they knew they had a better deal waiting?

    By the way, I no longer believe Lowe has to settle for a two-year contract. He was great down the stretch, and I’m sure he can get three years from somebody. Back to the drawing board. I stand by the general approach, though.

  25. all this complaing about college football zebras and nothing about the butchery being commited by the WS umps? the tag play in the 1st inning last night was one of the worst ever. i mean, he was looking right at it. or maybe tags dont count if they’re applied in suppository form.

  26. everyone was rooting for him because they know he got screwed by Notre Dame but he landed on his feet with a good job. now, 4(?) yrs. later Washington is in worse shape than when he got there………….happy trails, coach.

  27. @39

    Unsubstantiated allegations reported as fact on an intertube website. Come on NL. How can any Braves fan pull for a team that willingly employs the DH?

  28. Go Titans. It’s mighty cold out there—so cold that I don’t regret turning down tickets even one iota.

  29. The St. Petersburg Times is not an “intertube website.”

    It’s a hard-copy newspaper that has won 6 Pulitzer Prizes. Jim Romano, who wrote that column detailing the Phils’ fans behavior at Game 3, works for that newspaper.

    Romano reported the Tampa crew’s allegations. The Rays’ owner & manager were quoted in the column and Joe Maddon discussed the situation today during his pre-game press conference. (I heard it on WFAN here in NYC.)

    If you notice from the story, the Phils’ VP didn’t deny what happened. People can draw their conclusions however they like, but I would tend to believe the Tampa people.

    What the stupid DH rule has to do with bad fan behavior, I’m not sure.

  30. #44…….how can any Braves fan pull for a team that seemingly spent the whole season beating the hell out of them? thats my reason for always rooting for the Al. unless the Braves are involved……..unless it the Yankees. well, maybe i’d even root for the Yanks if they were playing the Dodgers or Mets.

  31. @48

    The key word in your post is “allegations”. I seriously doubt this particular piece will win any Pulitzers so I’m not sure what the paper’s previous history of decorations has to do with anything.
    Perhaps I should have made two seperate posts but now that I think about, I would support the pouring of beer (the worst alleged behevior in the article) on every 9 year old in the country if it would rid us of the DH.

  32. Somewhat more constructively, should teams known for their abusive fanbases have designated areas for opposition support with a little extra security?

  33. I thought I’d be rooting for the Rays when the Series started, because they’re such a great story. But somehow I started rooting for the Phillies in Game 1 — I guess it’s a National League thing — and now I’m really hoping they win. Yeah, the fans are awful a lot of the time, but they DO care. And they do deserve a championship, karmically.

    And, I dunno. I respect the hell out of Hamels and Utley.

    Intellectually, I think I support the Rays more, but for some reason I’m a Philly fan. What can I tell ya?

  34. No fun working in that kind of weather.

    Hate I missed the JB discussion. But it’s still probably worth mentioning that a young Bootsy Collins was his bass player for about a year after his band quit and played on some monster hits. Anyway, another feather in the funk cap for Mr. Brown.

  35. You’re the pro, feel free to chime in. I just can’t hear Brown in the British Invasion bands, or the seventies rock that grew out of them. Doesn’t mean that he’s not there.

  36. It’s not just you. I don’t hear it either.

    Is there any chance that Bud lets the World Series be decided on a rain shortened game?

  37. Certainly not an expert, but I don’t hear it much in the BI bands either, honestly. There are cases where they put the beat on the 1, but not very often. I hear his influence in bands like MC5, if anything.

  38. Well, I freely concede having talked off the top of my head with Brown in the British Invasion. It’s definitely a little easier to hear him in the MC5, and possibly even the Stooges — Iggy’s various “ooh!” and “uh!” on Fun House aren’t that far off from James’s trademark “unh!”. Still, don’cha think that Lennon and Richards at least bought Live at the Apollo in 1962?

  39. Or “Down on the Street” & “Loose” from The Stooges’ Funhouse. Some serious gut-bucket grunt going on there.

    I seem to remember reading in Iggy’s book, “I Want More,” that he was certainly influenced by Jim Morrison and James Brown—Morrison for the notion of chaos in a live situation, Brown more for sheer groove.

    He said that his “comeback” album, The Idiot—which was recorded in Berlin around the same time as David Bowie’s Heroes—was a mixture of James Brown and Kraftwerk.

    I don’t know if that one or Lust For Life, his other Berlin LP, really sound like that, but it’s a helluvan idea.

  40. A lot of times the influence seems to be one of attitude rather than technique. JB was a radical in his time and served as an inspiration to others of his ilk, no matter the genre.

  41. I mean, I always got the feeling that the really “out” jazz guys dug JB and the deeper funk stuff, even though it wasn’t their primary bag. Miles certainly dipped his toe into those waters.

    Also, the Stooges/Iggy thing is right on. It’s really not that much of a stretch go from from “Lust For Life” to “I’m Iggy Pop, And I’m Proud.”

  42. Iggy Pop is one of my favorite artists ever, bar none. And that’s a fascinating description of The Idiot, which I’ve always felt was his best solo album. (Though he’s had a surprising number of good ones, more than he’s given credit for: Lust for Life, of course, but also New Values, Brick by Brick, and American Caesar.) “Mass Production” and “Dum Dum Boys” are up there with “The Endless Sea” and “Repo Man” for my favorite solo Iggy song.

    Of course, if the fingerprints of the Godfather of Soul are all over the MC5 and Iggy, the Godfather of Punk, that means that he’s somewhere in punk if you know where to look. If Stiv Bators is the greatest Iggy impersonator, then there’s a direct line of descent. I also think Alan Vega in Suicide had some James Brown to go along with his psycho Elvis, and the Cramps probably did too. Willy Deville probably had a little Godfather of Soul in his Bowery doo-wop. Depending on what kind of squawk David Thomas chose to unleash in a given Pere Ubu song, he may have had a little “Unh!” in his coffee as well, though that may be a bigger stretch.

    Of course, David Lee Roth’s screeched “aww!” is a slightly different syllable, but I’d say it’s definitely in the family tree too.

  43. I don’t know how many people saw Selig’s press conference after the game was suspended, but he said something to the effect of had the half-inning ended with the Phillies still ahead, he just would’ve declared a rain delay and kept it going for however long it took for the game to start again, days if necessary. I’m not sure if that technically would’ve been legal as that meets the exact specifications for a suspended game, which is only possible in certain circumstances which would not have been met (whenever Bud Selig personally oversees a game, weird things seem to happen to the fundamental rules of when a game is decided), but there you go, for what its worth. I should say that I doubt anyone would’ve complained too much had he done this, though, me included.

  44. I’m kinda glad that Tampa tied the game, so they could suspend it.

    But if Philadelphia would’ve clinched the World Series with a rain-out victory, it would’ve made a nice bookend to Selig’s all-star game tie.

  45. I’d almost forgotten that the WS was going on… but I should add that it’s beyond me how anyone here can root for the Phillies. I guess y’all just need more face time with their fans. That would anyone of any lingering NL allegiance, DH or not.

    On football rules: this happens every year, and I’m almost numb to it because the rulebook itself is so poorly conceived. It boggles my mind how a sport can have so many intricate rules–many of them not to the benefit of the game, mind you–and yet not effectively define pass interference, holding, or what constitutes a catch in, say, the endzone. I’ve now seen the latter defined three different ways in three different games. Remember when the Steelers-Seahawks game capped off a season of horrendous officiating? This year is nothing new.

  46. Shouldn’t we take a moment to congratulate Mac on—this is the only clip-based inference I can make—getting laid this weekend. Apparently. A lot.

  47. A liitle late on chiming in on a Hanson, et. al. for Peavy swap. While Hanson’s ceiling may be Peavy’s best years, we probably would not be getting Cy Young Peavy, but something closer to Tim Hudson – a good pitcher, nonetheless, but whose A1 years are behind him.

  48. It’s never to late to chime in on the Peavy trade!

    I stand by my assertion that a KJ/Schaefer/prospect pitcher package is THE most I would trade for Peavy. KJ could be replaced by Iron Glove Prado/Infante, and I saw enough out of Anderson to give him a shot at the CF position for 2009. Plus, we then make a run at a FA outfielder and SP to plug into 2009.

    Then, in 2010 we could have:

    1b – Kotchman
    2b – Prado/Infante
    SS – Yuneul
    3b – Chipper (maybe on his Retirement Tour)
    C – McCann
    LF – Free Agent Signee 1 (Burrell?)
    CF – Anderson/Gorkys
    RF – He Who Must Not Be Named/Heyward


    Free Agent Signee 2 (Burnett? I’d take that chance)

    B. Jones

    on the bench, and a pen of:
    Bennett, and
    4 more guys who I can’t predict at this time.

    That doesn’t even mention the chance that we could trade a Morton/JoJo/James/Parr package for help either in RF or 2B or a 3B of the future.

    THAT is what I’d like to see Wren do this offseason.

  49. Article about the suspended game:


    This is the quote that gets me:

    “It’s not a way to end a World Series,” he (Selig) said. “I’m on very solid ground.”

    Poor bastard has been knocked around so much that he manages to sound defensive even when he’s absolutely right. Had the Phillies been ahead, it wouldn’t have been any way to end the World Series. The only way for a WS to end is for the final out (or winning run) to occur, followed immediately by the winning team celebrating on the field. That should be an absolute rule.

  50. wow, that was great, Seat Painter. I am working on my hypothetical roster for the 2017 Hawks. Can you help me out?

  51. I have to say that I agree with Adam on the rooting for the Phillies thing. I root for the NL team in the World Series most of the time, but how you can convince yourself to root against the most likeable playoff team I can remember in quite some time so that you can root for a team whose fans pour beer on nine-year-olds and trap people in bathroom stalls by banging on the wall and threatening to kill them for hours on end is truly beyond me.

    Besides, this isn’t 10+ years ago. The leagues aren’t really separate entities at all anymore, and the only difference is the DH. I am definitely anti-DH, but I’ve also come to the conclusion through working with a college baseball team for the last two years that the DH is not going to cause the world to collapse in on itself. And it’s definitely not going to make me root for a team whose fans are the biggest felons in the sports world because of it.

    Although, on the other hand, if they win, they will probably destroy half the city, so that’s at least one argument on the pro side.

  52. GMs expect the trade market to be robust, and you’ll hear some surprising names floated—Prince Fielder, Jeff Francoeur and Jake Peavy among them; as teams search for affordable alternatives in baseball’s bear market.


    Weird seeing Francoeur’s name between two players who are actually good.

  53. I’mtellinya, the rest of the league hasn’t figured it out yet.

    He’s the fairy dust of the Peavy trade.

    Faster, please.

  54. Just had a business-related telephone conversation with a guy in Nashville, who revealed that he was a UT grad.

    I asked about Fulmer and he just groaned & said, “How ’bout them Titans!”

  55. So, it seems like the Tigers might be forced to trade Maggs for salary relief. Would something like Francoeur and a couple of live relief arms (Acosta and Marek) get it done? Would it be worth it? Further suspending reality, if we could then trade Gorkys/Flowers/Morton/Medlen for Peavy, and then sign AJ Burnett for 4 years/$60 million and re-sign Greg Norton for 1 year at $1.5 million, we could have the following roster construction:


    C. Jones
    Diaz/B. Jones

    With a bullpen of Gonzo, Soriano, Moylan, Boyer, Bennett, Ring, and Carlyle, and a bench of Norton, Infante, B. Jones/Diaz, Blanco/Anderson, and Sammons.

    All for under $100 million, leaving room for the Smoltz and/or Hampton contracts to supplement the pitching staff.

    And if we can’t get Peavy for that package, we might at least go after Greinke or Harang with something similar. Whaddaya think?

  56. Me too, Stu. I especially like the part about getting Harang or Greinke. Change the or to and if you want, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.

  57. I like it Stu. My one issue that I didn’t realize is that Magglio will be 35 next year and playing on a knee that has had a major experimental surgery performed upon it. Granted, the past three years he’s been a stud, but he’s only a year under Chipper. He needs 500 PA’s this year for the 33MM left on his contract over the next two years to vest. That’s a lot of cash for a 36/37 year old.

    I don’t know if I still wouldn’t just keep the prospects and give 60 MM over 4 for a 28 year old Adam Dunn.

    The rest looks good though.

  58. Do you think Dunn will come that cheaply (for that short of a contract)? He’s nota great fit, given that our biggest need is right-handed power.

    I’d actually rather sign Burrell than acquire either of the other two, but I have no idea how likely it is that he’ll leave Philly and desire to play in Atlanta.

  59. How ’bout this version?

    Sign Burrell for 4 years, $60 million

    Sign Rivera for 2 years, $8 million

    Sign Burnett for 4 years, $60 million

    Re-sign Norton for $1 million

    Trade Hernandez/Flowers/Morton/Medlen for Peavy

    Trade Francoeur/Marek/Reyes/something else for Greinke

    Non-tender Diaz and Infante


    C. Jones

    Bullpen of Gonzalez, Soriano, Moylan, Boyer, Bennett, Carlyle, Ring

    Bench of Norton, Prado, Blanco, Lillibridge, Sammons

    Payroll of ~$100 million

    No need for Hampton or Smoltz (but hopefully a willingness on the part of ownership to offer Smoltz a deal)

    WS Championship

    See how easy that is? :)

    PS: If the budget allowed for a $110 million payroll instead of the $100 million I’m assuming here, we keep Infante (and Diaz, if we want him instead of Norton) and are able to comfortably offer Smoltz a contract.

  60. 2010, of course, would be a debacle. Chipper, Soriano, and Gonzalez all have contracts which expire after ’09. 2010 is an option year (at $12 million) for Hudson, which would presumably be bought out for $1 million or picked up so that he could be flipped for prospects. But you have to assume that Chipper and one of the closers will be brought back, so there’s probably not a lot of budget space created there. $10-$15 million, maybe.

    And you have +$2 million for McCann, +$4 million for Peavy, and arbitration raises to Kotchman, Greinke, KJ, Jurrjens, and Escobar, among others. So it’d get really expensive.

    Maybe you just lay off of Burnett and count on Hanson. That would allow you to keep Infante and Smoltz (and maybe even Hampton) in 2009, and wouldn’t make 2010 quite so unmanageable.

    I’m wasting a lot of words on scenarios which will never happen.

  61. It seems like Burrell and Dunn will have quick drop offs, so I don’t think Ordonez is that big of a risk in comparison.

    I also highly doubt we’ll get Greinke for that much! We’ll be left with Francoeur next season, and if he doesn’t perform we’ll get a stop gap for a year until Heyward in 2011.

    Don’t forget to include a good backup catcher in your financials!

  62. Burrell’s just auditioning for the Braves with that postseason choke-job. Looks like a perfect fit to me.

  63. I support signing Burrell. Burrell only seems to be expecting a two or three year deal and that is fine with me.

  64. I think after we get a pticher, we need to find a leadoff hitter. I know we need some pop, but do you really feel comfortable with KJ/Escobar/Blanco at the top?

  65. Why do I look at Pat Burrell & think he’ll suck as a Brave? No evidence. Call it gut.

    Late-night listening with no World Series to watch:

    1) “Dual Hawks” by Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel.
    More impressed by the Centro-Matic CD, but Will Johnson (singer-songwriter for both entities & huge Cardinals fan) never fails to amaze. Love his scratchy, soulful voice & cryptic lyrics. This one seems to be more about heartbreak—and don’t we all know about that?

    Killer tunes: “Rat Patrol & DJs,” “All Your Farewells” & “Twenty Four.”
    New “Rat Patrol & DJs” video: http://tinyurl.com/6qxt97

    2) “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek & the Dominos.
    Sometimes the joys of re-discovery just transcend everything. Good Lord, what a great record.

    The whole thing is obviously iconic, Clapton’s best work, etc., but my fave here is “Keep on Growing,” which demonstrates what an unbelievable band they were. (Url, you gotta love Carl Radle, right?) And Duane Allman’s slide work on “Little Wing” still gives me chills.

    3) “Eight” by Josh Gabriel. A new electronica thing I picked up in Holland. Amazing analog synth-fueled techno. Loaded with sputtering grooves and twitchy effects, yes, but it’s not at all typical dancefloor fodder. I cannot stop listening to it.

  66. The Braves have been saying loudly that they won’t be going after Dunn. And while I haven’t heard them say so, don’t expect them to go after Burrell either. The Braves don’t like 3-true-outcome players who aren’t speedy. I think there is a better chance that the Braves pick up Garret Anderson than Burrell.

  67. I disagree, JC. We may not end up with Burrell, but I don’t see any way we’re interested in Anderson, who, among other things, is left-handed.

    Mac, I’m higher on Burrell than you are, obviously, but someone who’s definitely worthless at 4 or 5 million for a year or two would probably be a better investment than someone who’s possibly worthless at 15 million over 4 years, don’t you think? Unless by “possibly” you mean a less-than-5% chance.

  68. Let me clarify. I don’t think Anderson is at the top of the Braves’ wish list. I think Anderson is ahead of Dunn and Burrell on that list.

  69. PS: When did the team say they weren’t going after Dunn? I missed that.

    They’ve said they need a power bat in the outfield and plan to get one this offseason, JC—there aren’t many of those available, and Anderson certainly doesn’t qualify.

    Now, maybe they’re planning on doing something stupid like trading for Matt Holliday, but as much as they prefer guys who hit for average, if they’re making power their priority, I just don’t see how they could have Anderson higher on their list than Burrell.

  70. DOB’s said it a few times on his blog: Dunn’s not even a remote possibility. I have good information that the Braves do not like low-BA/High-OBP guys, and I will be shocked if the Braves sign Burrell. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the impression I’m getting.

  71. @112,

    You need to add a headline for 4 months later:

    “Peavy Requires Tommy John: Out for Year”

    That would pretty much take care of all my expectations.

  72. I have good information that the Braves do not like low-BA/High-OBP guys

    What about low-BA/low-OBP guys like Francoeur?

  73. Dan, was thinking the exact same.

    Stu, LA is going to offer Manny 2/$55-60. Dont think anyone will touch that offer

  74. JC,

    Any ideas on who the Braves MIGHT consider the power outfield bat (if Dunn isn’t and Burrell just about isn’t)?

    I know this team is old school, but, unless they have some insight somewhere on who they are angling, those 2 guys fit the bill greatly.

  75. I must admit I’m kind of intrigued by this 3 1/2-inning game tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually got the best ratings of any game in the series. There could be a lot of strategy involved in how the managers set up this sprint, as well.

    I had a thought, though, and wanted to run it by you guys and see what you thought. I think that with the falling ratings and increasing frequency of nasty weather affecting the World Series (there’s not always a storm like this, but pretty much every year now, the Series is played in weather that’s probably, in all honesty, too cold for baseball), MLB needs to take a serious look at contracting the postseason. If Selig would actually pull his head out of the sand on the Division Series issue, he would see that the extra round of playoffs is the reason his ratings are dropping. Not only is the postseason lasting too long, but the frequency of mediocre teams that don’t deserve to be in the playoffs to begin with making the LCS and World Series are causing casual fans to lose interest. Hell, in certain years, it’s caused me to lose interest. There’s been talk of expanding the postseason in some way to fix this problem, but that makes the weather problem even worse, and probably does the same with the ratings problem, since the postseason would then last even longer. However, going back to the way it was with the four division setup isn’t the right thing to do, either. The whole reason for the Division Series’ inception (well, the reason not involving money), was that deserving teams were getting left out of the postseason (see: ’93 Giants).

    So, what I propose is this: You go back to just the LCS and the World Series. You do away with the divisions entirely. You go back to the balanced schedule. And the teams with the two best records in each league at the end of the season advance to the LCS.

    Nothing else really has to change. There’s no reason you couldn’t still do interleague play out of this setup. If two teams finished tied for second, you would still do the one-game playoff (although now, maybe it would go back to meaning something when that happened, as opposed to it happening every year). You would be pretty much guaranteed to have four deserving teams in the playoffs. I’m sure it wouldn’t solve all the weather problems, but the weather seems to generally be tolerable for the LCS most of the time, but then takes a nosedive during the week of the World Series, so you’d be pushing everything back into that generally tolerable zone. And I’m pretty sure the ratings would improve, as you’d be far more likely to have interesting teams, deserving teams playing in a postseason that would last only 2 1/2 to 3 weeks as opposed to 4 weeks or more.

  76. News from Arizona.

    Of Braves’ 3 position playters on Mesa Solar Sox, Flowers is first at 1.400 OPS, Matt Young is middleish at .900 or so and Van Pope is next to last at .692 OPS.

    Of the 3 pitchers on the Solar Sox, Hanson is first in WHIP at .46 ( I know, that looks wrong, but it’s right), with Marek and Medlen also in the top 4 in WHIP and under .67. Guys, that is dominant pitching in an All-Star league.

  77. Nick,

    Those are good thoughts. Something must be done.

    I’d rather see the regular season contracted to 154, the first round expanded to best of 7, with the whole thing ending before Halloween.

    Where is global warming when you need it?

  78. Nick/Hank,

    I’m in favor of a lot of things like that, but it’ll never happen at this point.

    As it is, the extra playoff round still garners scads of cash for MLB (diminishing ratings or not). Also, teams don’t want to lose 8 regular-season games. The cat is out of the bag.

    In the post-’94 world, MLB quit caring about what’s right or competitively fair or what might be patently ridiculous. It’s all about maximizing revenues and monetizing every little thing.

    Given the current idiotic post-season format, however, I do believe it is possible to create advantages for teams that finish with the best record in each league. At the very least, MLB should entertain that idea.

    It’s been said before, but an 85-win team and a 100-win team shouldn’t suddenly be treated as relative equals in the post-season.

    BTW, next year, because of the Global Baseball Classic (or whatever it’s called), if the WS goes 7 games, it’ll end on November 7.

  79. I don’t know if you could call it a “power” bat, but I wouldn’t object to looking at Bobby Abreu. He’ll play next next year at 35, but the guy’s never player less than 150 games in a season in the past decade. Averaged only about 23 HR’s the past five, but has been @ a solid .850 OPS. He made 16MM last year. I would do 2 @ 30MM with a vesting option for a third year based upon PA’s to bring it to 45 MM.

    Per JC’s and Cliff’s comments, this seems like more of a “Braves” player. Plus, I remember Bobby has always said good things about the guy when he was with the Phillies.

    The only issue, and this is still why I would prefer Dunn to any of the other players listed, (besides the age: 28) is that Dunn is a legitimate #4 hitter. Ordonez isn’t, Abreu isn’t, even Burrell isn’t really. From how I’ve analyzed the projected lineups that the Braves could trot out this year, the cleanup spot is the main component that is missing. It just seems to me, that outside the trade market, Dunn is the best option to fill that hole.

  80. But Abreu’s a lefty, too. All of our power, save switch-hitting Chipper, is left-handed: McCann, KJ, and theoretically, Kotchman. Lefties killed us this year. I mean, yeah, Dunn and Abreu are better than Matt Diaz…but wouldn’t a guy like Burrell be even more valuable than those guys for this team? And if he’s making the same sort of money…

  81. thing is i see us doing this:

    signing perez for ABOVE market value. he’s young and a lefty.

    signing a japanese import (there are two whose names escape me) for ABOVE market value

    using A BUNCH of money and some minor prospects and Gorkys and Tyler for Holliday and sign him long term for our LF.

    wren seems to be, well, waiting for 2011 for us to be competitive again.

  82. I think they’re going with the Homer Simpson plan: hide under a pile of coats and hope everything turns out all right.

  83. Juan Rivera: .246/.282/.438

    Looks like the “Frenchy line” to me.

    And not much of that left field homerun bat the Braves need either. 23 is his career season high in homeruns and that was the only time he ever hit more than 15.

  84. You wouldn’t want Rivera to be the attempt at solving the OF or power production all by himself, but he’d be an awfully nice upgrade over Francoeur. (See: career stats)

  85. Weird stat — I noticed that Rivera’s most similar batter through age 29 is Wes Covington, an old Milwaukee Braves outfielder. In 1957 (the championship season), Covington had 4 doubles, 8 triples, and 21 HR. The 2B/HR ratio is reminiscent of McGwire, but the 8 3Bs make it a stat line like I’ve never seen before.

  86. Sansho at 131,

    My guess is that the triples came from the immensity of County stadium. Mac ran a “normalize stats” on the Hammer a couple of years ago and despite losing a few from ATL, Hank picked up about 100 at County to be at something like 805 HR’s.

    IF Hank and Eddie could have both been “normalized” then they would have surpassed Ruth and Gehrig.

  87. Abreu’s fielding stats have been awful for years. One of the 2 to 3 worst right fielders in the game (and, because of age, getting worse). NO.

    Rivera: Look at the stats above. At his age a Diaz / B. Jones or Schafer platoon beats that to death at almost no cost.

    We need to hold our players and go internal if we don’t get somebody good (and Holliday’s non Coors stats are mediocre, David De Jesus is comparable, and neither Holliday nor the Rockies are going to want mediocre).

    Also, I think (but obviously I don’t know) that Wren is a smart enough guy to figure out that OBP and SLG are the kings. I think the whole “Braves type player” thing (as applied to non sabermetrically capable players) is coming from Bobby Cox.

    Cox cost us Jermaine Dye. Then, Devine. And he and the front office, Willy Aybar. It looks like several may be on the block now. We can’t talk to Milton Bradley (I wouldn’t want Manny, but same principle) If 10 to 20 % of Major League players aren’t your manager’s kind of players, then you may need a new manager.

    I know he has been crazy and a hot head, but Bradley’s production and attitude may be just what this button down and khaki team needs.

  88. The park dimensions were my first thought, Cliff. But County Stadium wasn’t particularly deep to center field (402), which is what I think of as a triples park. But the Braves did hit a lot of triples. Other than ’57, though, Covington hit 49 2Bs and 5 3Bs for the MilBraves.

    Anyway, it’s one weird-looking stat line….

    Edit: Willy Aybar cost us Willy Aybar, nobody else.

  89. The Braves gave up on Willy Aybar because of his personal problems. Lately, he has been performing about as we would have expected. It may have been a PR thing. However, The braves have put up with some bad PR. No, he was a bad clubhouse influence because of his drinking problem.

    I don’t say that is a wrong decision. I do say that again and again the foibles and attitudes of the players become secondary to their talents and achievements. You can’t go looking for choir boys to win a knife fight.

  90. Not gonna cry about Willy Aybar. I’m the last person to get moralistic about ballplayers, talented or not, but his problems were his problems.

    And Bobby Abreu is a comedy show in right field. To him, the RF wall is kryptonite. Something happened to him along the way, I’m sure, but I have never seen anyone so obviously terrified of running into the fence. Pete Reiser, he’d not.

  91. Stu,

    I completely agree about the current composition of the lineup and the issues vs. lefties. If we could do Burrell for two @ 30MM I would be game. But his playoff play notwithstanding, ( career: .208 .311 .434 ) the thought of a 35/36 year old Burrell in the lineup costing 30MM is terrifying to me, and I think we’d have to go 4 years to get him from Philly.

    I’d feel the same way about a 35/36 year old Dunn. Actually, probably worse. But with Dunn I think if you get him for 4, your sitting at 32/33 at the end of the contract. However, the lefty issue is valid.

    I just don’t believe there is a viable right handed option in this free agent market when one takes into account the constraints that would be imposed. Maybe Milton Bradley, who is a switch hitter, but whose stats favor him as a right handed hitter. He’s been so over the place in his career though, it’d be playing with fire IMO. Juan Rivera? Maybe, but I don’t think one could realistically expect him to be any more than league average.

    Even with issues you mentioned Stu, 40 HR are 40 HR, and if I’m dropping a significant amount of money on a free agent slugger for multiple years, Dunn seems to me the safest and best bet.

  92. What’s the argument against Dunn? The strikeouts?

    Young(ish), has power, hits cleanup, can move to 1B if/when the young outfielders blossom, not outrageously expensive


    doesn’t cost us any players!

    EDIT: Darn, Cliff said it better earlier. I feel sheepish …

  93. I don’t think it’s Dunn in and of himself. I think it pertains more to our personnel needs. We can really use right-handed power, and, obviously, Dunn is left-handed. If we’re going to pay big money for an OF, we might as well get a righty in the lineup, according to some.

    Personally, I would just take the best talent we can get. Chipper provides power from the right side, and if Francoeur can rebound, we’ll have some help there. I know, I know, don’t laugh…

  94. AAR,
    Reiser & Abreu are extreme opposites. Reiser would run right into the wall headfirst, but Abreu won’t get near it. He’ll begin flinching 10 feet away.

    And I may be wrong about this, but I’ve heard that Reiser is one of the reasons why warning tracks were actually implemented.

  95. The Braves and Padres remain at an impasse in their trade discussions concerning right-hander Jake Peavy, sources say.

    The Padres are believed to be asking for five players, knowing the Braves parted with that many when they acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira and left-hander Ron Mahay from the Rangers.

    Of course, the players and combinations remain fluid, and the final package could hinge on whether the Braves take back shortstop Khalil Greene as a replacement for Yunel Escobar, who likely would be included in the deal.

    For the moment, the Braves remain opposed to trading Class AA right-hander Tommy Hanson, who has pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League and could be in the Atlanta rotation next season.

    The Padres’ discussions with other clubs about Peavy also are quiet, but the talks are certain to resume next week at the general managers’ meetings in Dana Point, Ca.


  96. I think the problem is that we should not be building for 2009. It looks like if we have to fix rf this year, we are forcing a square peg into a round hole. Build for ’10, fill some holes now, and the rest later.

  97. if Abreu thinks the outfield wall is kryptonite, i think Burrell used to be the oppssite, When he was in college at Miami playing here in Tallahassee, i saw him crash a concrete block wall while going for a ball that barely made it to the warning track. the Seminoles couldnt get him out, but his base running was great fun to watch as well.

  98. If I remember right, the Braves offered the Devil Rays Escobar, Saltalamacchia and Davies for Baldelli and they refused unless the package became Escobar, Saltalamacchia and Chuck James.

  99. I’m glad I got to hear one radio legend call the final World Series out for his team this year. I just wish it were one of our own…

  100. By the way (continuing the Great James Brown Discussion) I thought that I might have figured out a second-degree influence of the Godfather on the Beatles in the Isley Brothers, but it looks like the Isleys influenced Brown and not vice versa.

  101. This discussion really depresses me. Phillies win. I actually expected to root for them as NL reps but I found that, even having family in Philly, I couldn’t root for those Philly fans to have anything good. As for the Braves, they are doomed to Bobby Cox hell as long as he manages. I’m convinced that Wren will end up giving way too much for Peavey; I’m just hoping they don’t.

    One good thing–the election will be over on Tueday, thank god.

  102. I like that Wren is so steadfast in his unwillingness to give up our elite prospects, but if that leads him to trade somebody like Yunel (who’s like an elite prospect, only better, because he’s proven his worth in the major leagues), I will officially lose faith in him.

  103. if they want 5 players then the best they should get would be


    thats 3 rotation arms, outfield prospect, and a SS replacement.

    The more and more I read about this deal, the more pissed I get. Wren better stick to his word on not trading our top prospects. We cant keep throwing out 4-5 players on trades

  104. I think the Padres are wishing and hoping and trying to clear payroll (partly because of the owner’s divorce). I think Wren has made it clear he isn’t moving that stupid super package reported in media a week ago. He might move Hanson, but only with about 2 lesser lights. That still may not be smart.

    If they (the Padres) REALLY want to clear payroll, maybe we should go for Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles (at net pay after option, as in Padres cover the option, we pay the difference of about 6 million), Khalil Greene, and Peavy in exchange for Kotchman, Kala, Lillibridge, Diory Hernandez, Frenchy, Gorkys, Jo Jo, and Medlen. (That gives them 2 chances to replace each player)Then, flip Greene for whatever (and cover salary if necessary) and let Giles be our low level outfield upgrade. Covering Giles (less option), Peavy, and half of Greene would only be about 20 million in 09 (Gonzalez 3 million in arb year 1?), with Peavy and Gonzalez being the only ones on roster the next year at 20 or so.

    That would still leave us 20 or so to go after CC or a combination of back up catcher and Derek Lowe or A. J. burnett.

  105. Based on the assistance he personally provided the Phillies in their quest to reach the playoffs, I suggest we call our right fielder Phrenchy from now on.

  106. I don’t understand that for KC. Kala’s big brother absolutely raked in AA and AAA for them this year, and is a left-handed hitting 1B just like Jacobs.

  107. Maybe Jacobs will be their everyday 1B and they’ll trade us Shealy, who we can platoon with Kotchman, for not a lot.

  108. per Braves website….

    In order to get somebody like Peavy or Ordonez, Wren is going to have to trade some of his best prospects. But he hasn’t changed his stance regarding his small group of elite prospects, which likely includes Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson, Freddie Freeman, Gorkys Hernandez and Julio Teheran.

    “There’s a group of prospects that we’re not going to trade under any circumstances and a group that we’ll at least listen to offers for,” Wren said. “I think we have as much talent in our [Minor League] system as we’ve had during any of the 10 years that I’ve been here.”

  109. I hope Wren is just posturing. If Towers offers up Peavy for Julio Teheran, in a one-for-one, Wren would be an idiot to not pull the trigger.

  110. That seems like Bowman’s way of telling us to stop being delusional, and that the team plans to get Juan Rivera and Jon Garland.

    Despite 40+ million to spend and the availability of prospects to land players like Peavy and Matt Holliday, I still think the Braves will go their usual cheapskate route.

  111. Maybe if they go cheap, Dan, at least they’ll consider locking up some of the younger guys—Jurrjens, Yunel, and KJ—to long-term deals.

  112. They’ll (still, despite this past season) work on a long-term contract for Francoeur before they will with Kelly Johnson or Yunel Escobar.

  113. I think it’s obvious that our powers that be like Hernandez more than Schafer. It might be the HGH thing or it might be based on actual talent evaluation, who knows? The point, though, is that I don’t know how we can really know which one will be a better player at this point, and frankly, if Schafer isn’t ready to be our starting CF next season, or if we don’t think he is going to be, it’s probably just better to include him in a deal, since he’ll be more valuable to other teams because he’s closer to ready. I don’t think we can wait another full year for him to be Major League ready, especially with Hernandez right behind him.

  114. RE: Schafer vs. Hernandez

    Gorkys still has some time to develop some pop, though the way the ball was flying out at MB this year, I am not that optimistic on his power.

    Meanwhile, Schafer has experienced a disturbing power outage in the Mexican Pacific League. It’s a small sample size, but he his hitting .300 and slugging under .400 in 50 ABs.

    Maybe, neither of these guys should be untouchable. I am more inclined to keep Schafer, given his defensive projection, but they be more interchangeable than I once thought.

    Also, we can wait another year for our cf. I really think the players that should be untouchable are those that we see on the team in 2010 or 2011 and beyond.

  115. Tommy Hanson needs to get his S#!% together! Today was definitely subpar:

    5 IP 3H 0R 0BB 5K

    I was getting used to a strikeout and a half per inning. I guess I can deal with only one. Did well with the walks though. I really don’t want to trade him.

  116. He might be. The parallels are fairly similar.

    Both franchises with recently successful histories who have been subpar as of late. Both franchises have been relatively unsuccessful in developing their own pitchers (at least since Smoltz/Glavine). Both pitchers thoroughly dominant in the minors. Both teams seemingly unwilling to trade said pitchers for a veteran ace.

    I can’t speak for Yankees fans, but I definitely building an irrational attachment for Hanson. (Though it might be from following him through the minors over the past few years)

    Am I missing anything?

  117. The Hughes analogy can go several ways.

    Hanson’ll be the mound savior we were smart to hang onto. Or the guy we could’ve dealt for a Cy Young winner, perhaps still in his prime. Or the Cy Young winner for San Diego, while Peavy is on the DL for ATL, etc.

    I think most Yankee fans wanted to keep Hughes, but plenty of them still recoil when they see Santana pitching for the Mets, knowing they could’ve had him.

  118. My history of “irrational attachments” is a mixed bag. The two Braves prospects I can remember following like Hanson are Bruce Chen and Marcus Giles.

  119. Yeah, the Yankees probably wish they traded Phil Hughes for Santana now.

    I refuse to get overly excited about Tommy Hanson until he shows something in the majors. Who was the last pitching prospect that pitched well for the Atlanta Braves for an extended time period? Kevin Millwood?

  120. Anybody want Griffey for a year or two?

    I know a certain writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution does.

  121. I wonder if we could get someone like paul konerko. I know he’s not the major threat he once was, but he could rebound and maybe we could get him on the cheap. I’m also interested in aaron rowand, I know he’s not the power outfielder we need, but he would add speed, defense, balls and some pop to our lineup and buy us some time to decide who we need in center.

  122. Konerko would be a bad guy to get now, IMO. Not as bad an idea as, say, Pronk, but a bad idea nevertheless. I was looking it over earlier, and Ordonez wouldn’t really be such a bad plan.

  123. Ordonez would probably require a substantial prospect package, Konerko we may be able to get for a few mid level poopsuckers off the the scrap pile (lilbridge comes to mind) and we may even get them to pay for part of his 12M contract.

  124. Does anyone have any ideas on the origin of Gorkys Hernadez’ name? My first inclination based on the fact that he comes from a country with some socialist tendencies is that he was named after Maxim Gorky. There is nothing about it on his wiki page.

  125. A buddy in my grad program reffed UNC’s midnight madness. Said it was crazy (duh) and that Hansborough was really built (double duh).

    Just thought I’d share. :-D

  126. If you haven’t seen pictures of Le Cage au TarHeel (aka, UNC’s Midnight Madness), you might enjoy it if, as mraver’s friend who thought Ty was really built, you enjoy that sort of thing.

  127. Venezuela’s socialist tendencies are pretty recent and not really related to the Soviet Union. Unless Gorkys is a lot younger than we think, I doubt he was named after Maxim Gorky.

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