180 thoughts on “The three deadly words…”

  1. first

    and foremost, bringing him back would probably have been a worthless endeavor, so no real loss here. Lets hurry up and do something though so this place stops feeling like a ghost town.

  2. that was a joke because of the rule. First was just the first word of my sentence and I hit enter to make the joke. Also, I needed something that would generate a response, because I’ve been listening to the crickets chirping all day and its freaking me out.

  3. Thank God Hampton is gone. Even if he pitches well (and watch him do just that), I’m so glad he is gone.

  4. Heh. I’m with Dan insofar as I’m willing to wager he goes out and pitches decently for a full year now that the Braves won’t get anything out of it.

    That trade…. It looked okay at the time, and if Hampton hadn’t gotten hurt, it would’ve probably worked out pretty well for the Braves. As it was, though, it really took a sizeable chunk out of the payroll for quite a while.

  5. Since the Braves won’t offer John Smoltz arbitration, what are the chances he seeks his incentive-laden contract elsewhere?

  6. Not sure what Houston’s “plan” is this offseason… but I’m sure hoping ours is better.

  7. I wasn’t particularly opposed to us giving him a one year deal largely because I figure we’ll need a couple innings eaten up and I’m guessing he’ll give them at least that. Now I figure we’re more likely to give that “fill in” contract to Smoltz and/or Glavine depending on how they feel… and admittedly they’re probably as good a bet to stay healthy as he is, and have more nostalgia (the good kind anyway)… so maybe I’m happy about this signing.

  8. I know there are differing opinions at to the logic of trading Escobar. Assuming that he does end up getting traded, would Greinke or Peavy be the better end result? There is definitely interest from the Royals and one would assume that Greinke would be the centerpiece of that deal.

    Greinke is less of an (apparent) injury risk and is cheaper (2 arb years left).

    He also doesn’t have a Cy Young. Plus, the consensus of a lot of people in KC is that if Greinke wasn’t a pitcher, he’d be a serial killer. To be fair, a lot of that probably stems from the fact he was brought up at 20 to be the saviour of a franchise that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in 23 years.

    He is filthy though; combine that with a fairly stable clubhouse…

  9. Mac–just a request: if Hampton does sign with the Astros, can we have a thread with your best video highlights? It might be an appropriate way to end an era….

  10. I have to say that any team relying on Hampton is in some degree of trouble (just look at us the last couple of years, though to be sure it wasn’t all his fault). So, I’m not going to cry myself to sleep about this.

  11. I forgot to mention that the video for the thread is great….brings back memories…

  12. “…This just in to CNN. A disgruntled man wearing an Astros “rainbow-era” sweater is currently cursing Drayton McLane and firing off automatic weapons at the U. S. Capitol……..

  13. Considering our two dependable options for next year are Jair Jurjjens and Campillo, who had a pretty lucky year, I’m surprised the Braves didn’t attempt to sign Hampton.

    Good riddance I guess. I don’t know what pisses me off more, the fact that Hampton didn’t sign with the Braves to reward their patience with him (something he said he would heavily consider) or the fact that I’m actually a little nervous we didn’t sign him. Either way, this team has really gone south in the last five years.

  14. ugh, I have visions of Jon Garland and Oliver Perez to round out our starting 4….someone please help!

  15. #22 – Per DOB, the Braves actually offered more to Hampton than the Astros did.

    There were personal reasons for him to move to Houston apparently, though I’m not sure that adds up.

  16. Russ Levine at Football Outsiders: “Also, I am reading all the reports that Monte Kiffin will leave Tampa Bay to join his son Lane at the University of Tennessee. As a Bucs fan, I’d much rather that Tennessee had just hired Jon Gruden and left Kiffin behind.”

  17. Nick – according to O’Brien, the Braves offered more to Hampton, but he took the Astros offer to be closer to his kids in Arizona and the D-Backs were not interested.

    Apparently, he is getting divorced. It seems a bit odd to me since a flight from Houston to Phoenix is not all that different than one from Atlanta.

    Maybe, it is more about getting away from the bad memories of his failures in Atlanta and back to where he was “up and coming” in Houston.

  18. Mac – once on a plane, the 600 miles is not that much, IMO.

    I think the point is that Hampton does not have a history of being all that honest about his reasons for leaving town.

  19. I think a couple of hours is plenty good reason to try and stay closer to home. I wish more big leaguers would try going where they would be happiest instead of where the biggest paycheck was – it would make things alot easier for us in alot of respects.

  20. From the previous thread. Texas has a very good defense. Here is a breakdown of points given up vs average.

    FAU……10….Avg 25 pts/g (Backup QB fumbled in last minute of game on the 10 yardline)
    UTEP….13….Avg 33 pts/g (lowest total of the season)
    RICE….10….Avg 44 pts/g (lowest total of the season)
    ARKY….10….Avg 21 pts/g (Backup QB fumbled in last minute of game that was returned for TD)
    COLO…14….Avg 20 pts/g
    OKLA….35….Avg 53 pts/g (tied TCU for lowest total of the season)
    MIZZ….31….Avg 45 pts/g
    OKST….24….Avg 41 pts/g
    TECH….39….Avg 44 pts/g
    BAYL….21….Avg 28 pts/g
    KU…….7……Avg 32 pts/g (lowest total of the season)
    AGGY…9…. .Avg 25 pts/g (lowest total of the season)

    Notice how EVERY team was held under their average points per game. Texas also led the nation with 44 sacks. Add to that an offense that scored 44 points per game with a QB that had the highest completion pct in the HISTORY of NCAA football and you have a pretty formidable team…

  21. Speaking of Spooneybarger, according to Wikipedia he’s a free agent, after spending last year with Baltimore’s New York Penn League Aberdeen IronBirds… He’s also in a rock band, Mad Ink, with ex-teammate AJ Burnett… Urgent message to Frank Wren: maybe we can bring back Spooney to get some leverage with AJ…

  22. I’m sorry, but no championship team should be giving up 30 plus points to teams, and 21 points to teams like baylor.

    Since the BCS, only FSU (31 to GT, in a win), 2000 Oklahoma (30 to texas a & m, in a win) and last year LSU’s team (who in two losses gave up more than 30 to Kentucky and Arkansas) have given up 30 points in a game.

    30 might be an arbitrary number, but its a good indicator. Usually 30 points means at least 3 td’s- which a great, championship defense should never be giving up.

  23. wonder if the wife waited for the $100m contract to expire before requesting a divorce … just wondering (and nothing in DOB tells us which party filed for the divorce)

    I’d have been ok w/ bringing Hampton back to $2m plus incentives–I’d rather tread water cheaply for a year than make a trade (e.g., Esco and friends for Peavy) that is harmful for the long run.

  24. Look at a common opponent of texas, flordia and bama, Arkansas.

    Vs Texas

    First Downs – 12
    Rushing Yards – 11
    Passing Yards – 180
    Total – 191

    Vs Flordia
    First Downs – 20
    Rushing Yards – 143
    Passing Yards – 208
    Total – 351

    Vs Bama
    First Downs – 19
    Rushing Yards – 92
    Passing Yards – 217
    Total – 309

    These games were played in consecutive weeks so there isn’t some end of season bias. Texas allowed fewer first downs, fewer yards rushing, passing and obviously overall. I know you guys are homers for the SEC, but just becasue the SEC has a bunch of crappy offenses, doesn’t mean you play the best defense…

  25. Yeah, I looked up Spoons too. I didn’t know he had TJ surgery in 2004 AND 2005. He was out of baseball for a while and has pitched little since. He was on the Marlins WS champs but didn’t pitch in the series. Maybe the Braves got the better pitcher in that deal, as unlikely as it might seem.

  26. If I were an Astros fan I could see talking myself into a Hampton signing. As for us… we know that you shouldn’t ever count on anything from him, but was the FO? Does this make us push even harder for a trade or for a signing or both?

    Speaking of signings, I think it would be nice to have a leadoff hitter and I always was a fan of Furcal… but I don’t think that’d be the best way to spend money.

  27. I did a lot of growing up in the Houston area. You think it is hot in the summer in Atlanta, Houston is nasty. It gets so humid in Houston that you sweat in the shower.

  28. Ohman.

    It’s days like today that remind me why I keep coming back to this site. Well played, Mr. Thomason.

    People who wanted to see Hampton back are nuts, for 2 million dollars or 50 dollars. He’s a catastrophe.

  29. Don’t get me wrong, Texas has a solid defense. But I wouldn’t use one game against Arkansas to argue that it’s better than UF’s or Alabama’s.

    Moreover, UF’s been a new team since basically right after that game. When you look at how well the UF defense has played over the past 6 or 7 weeks, it’s kinda shocking. Consider:
    only two teams have scored more than 20 points against the gators this year, and 7 have been held to 10 or fewer. I’m not saying this is the defense they had in 2006, but it’s a pretty damn good unit.

  30. @42: You can’t compare non-conference games against conference games. SEC teams know each other, and it isn’t common to see a defense completely shutdown their opponent. Beyond that, you’ve left out a very important stat: Points Allowed. ‘Bama gave up 14, Texas 10, and Florida 7. That’s the same reason that Texas gave up 21 to Baylor.

    I don’t understand the argument though. This isn’t an exclusive thing, the National Championship will be the SEC Champs versus either Oklahoma if they beat Mizzou, or Texas if they don’t… And then we’ll start listening to Trojan fans.

    These bowl projections suck: Ohio State will get trounced by the Big 12 left out, a Boise State rematch with OU would be much more interesting. The SEC runner-up will make a second straight mockery of the Sugar Bowl, and Hawa… err Utah… Boston College and Cincinnati doesn’t even count since no one will watch, and USC will end JoePa’s season on a low note. Time for a playoff!

  31. Utah is a lot better than ’07 Hawaii. A lot. That’s an atrocious comparison. Utah actually has athletes, size and speed on defense. They also have a very good scheme. Hawaii was a one trick pony that everyone knew had no business in a BCS game.

  32. If Utah is within 10 points of either Alabama or Florida at the end of that game, I’ll buy & wear a Keith Van Horn jersey for a week.

    FWIW, Hawai’i was undefeated last year. Before the BCS scenario, they might’ve played a 6-5 team in the Holiday Bowl for a chance to win the mythical national championship. (See BYU, 1984.)

    Hawai’i got hammered because they played a team that could tackle, rush the QB & kick off between hash marks. They should’ve played this year’s version instead.

    After spending the last several days in Pennsylvania, I’m trying to understand this: Penn State loses one game by one point on the road & they’re banished from the MNC conversation. Florida loses one game by one point at home & is in contention to win a “title.” USC loses one game & they need 14 things to happen to enter the picture. Texas actually beats Oklahoma, but that’s mitigated somehow because they narrowly lose to a team OU hammers. And I don’t know what to think about Texas Tech’s situation.

    Every game is meaningful? Apparently not. Hell, the situations aren’t even evaluated evenly. A computer & a bunch of voters tell me that USC isn’t as good as Florida, but how do we know that if they don’t actually play each other?

    Division 1 college football is Alice in Wonderland. It seems that the fans of the sport have gotten so accustomed to the view through the looking glass that they’ll put up with anything. How on earth does any of this make any sense?

    BTW, thanks for the Mike Hampton Anthology, Mac.

  33. Wow, neither Burrell nor Dunn (nor Abreu) were offered arbitration. So, it’d be even better for the Braves to sign one, although this also probably drives the price up.

  34. I know it’s still pretty early, but is anyone concerned that the Braves seem to be going in circles? They seem to be reaching out for pitching possibilities, such as Oswalt and Greinke, which suggests they don’t think their original targets are going to pan out. With the team they have right now, they would be lucky to win 70 games.

  35. Peanut says the Braves aren’t interested and won’t be after Lowe. Burnett I still doubt. The Braves apparently don’t want to give up an extra A-ball player for Peavy (according to Peter Gammons.) This offseason is starting to begin to feel like a disaster; like between 2005-2006 when Schuerholz kept saying a closer was his top priority and he never got one and the 2006 Atlanta Braves’ season collapsed with an awful bullpen that was anchored (at the beginning) by Chris Reitsma.

    Cain and Greinke are not available and the Oswalt stuff is speculation based soley on the Astros’ GM’s comments about cutting payroll.

    I’m pretty pessimistic about 2009 right now. Hopefully the Braves can get a legit ace (and not a fake one like Oliver Perez) and change that.

  36. Admittedly, it’s not a great site. See story on Dec. 1.


    It appears the Braves were making inquiries but the teams were not interested.

    I think Wren may have promised more than he can deliver when he talked about going after two starting pitchers and an outfielder. At the same time, Wren (correctly) doesn’t want to give up too much. But you can’t have it both ways. You either have to go for it or sit back and wait for 2010.

  37. So far, I’m finding this offseason to be decidedly undisastrous, in that we’ve avoided disastrous action. But then, I’ve long advocated sacrificing ’09. Short beer lines at the ballpark this year!

    And I’m still hooked on my cynical idea of signing Ibanez and then trading him when we inevitably fall out of contention….

  38. Well I’m sure he’s going after those players. He just might not get them. I don’t think Wren is to blame for not making the Peavy deal, I’m actually encouraged that he was able to draw a line and not cross it even in addressing our biggest need. That bodes well for the future with him, IF he is creative enough to find other solutions.

    What’s that business about not throwing in an A-ball player being the holdup on the Peavy deal? Who are they talking about?

  39. Thanks, Marc, I hadn’t seen that.

    The tone of that Gammons article really pissed—actually, still pisses—me off.

    The Braves were not going to have to surrender any of their five best prospects, but have hesitated over Class A-level pitching. Peavy is a Cy Young winner, in case anyone’s forgotten.

    Even if it’s true that we weren’t going to have to surrender any of our five best prospects,

    (a) Our sixth- (and seventh-, etc.) best prospect is better than most teams’;

    (b) We’d be giving up our starting shortstop, who is more valuable than *most* teams’ *top* prospect;

    (c) Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, C.C. Sabathia, Greg Maddux, Felix Hernandez…and Jake Peavy were all A-ball pitchers at one time; and

    (d) Barry Zito, Eric Gagne, and Pat Hentgen won Cy Young Awards at one time.

    It’s not like Wren’s refusing to trade Locke or Rohrbough straight up for Peavy.

  40. Stu,

    Thanks for 65,

    Dix, (apparently) AFTER Wren offered Escobar, Gorkys Hernandez, and Morton or Reyes (their pick) the Padres wanted to add Rohrbaugh.

    The Padres and Gammons are operating under 1980’s trading guidelines. No way Peter Gammons’ beloved Red Sox up an offer when no one else is offering and no way they make a deal where they perceive giving up more than they are getting (even to fill a need).

    For the Braves in their current position, each move needs to add value.

  41. I guess I am sorta relieved that I can hate Mike Hampton and have it not be a conflict of interest.

    I hope we light him up all year. (Because Jeff Francouer is gonna be AWESOME this year….)

  42. Based on what he’s said to friends (which inevitably leaked to the press), it really seems that Peavy doesn’t want to pitch in Atlanta. So to Hell with him.

  43. I’m not sure what everyone is so pessimistic about. As sansho said, the Braves haven’t done anything stupid thus far, and that’s a Good Thing. They haven’t paid outrageous sums in talent for an elite SP signed slightly below market value, and they haven’t made any FA signings that could be considered poor values.

    Every option but one (Dempster) that they thought they had going into the offseason is still there (I guess two if you want to count Hampton, but I don’t think you do). Personally, I’m still rooting for Flowers/JoJo/B. Jones for Dye/Vazquez deal, or something of the like, but I’m not sure it’ll happen.

    Also, someone said earlier that the Braves need to either wait for 2010 or “go for it” right now. Well, IMO, that’s not the case. There are plenty of options between blowing your cash on long-term deals for players you may not want in two years and sitting on your hands for the whole off-season. The Braves need to make moves that will make sense now and will make sense down the road. Basically, they need to act like an intelligent organization rather than one hell-bent on winning next year. That’s really all I’m hoping for his off-season.

  44. I’m not rendering any judgment on this off-season yet. To me, the only significant thing is that, for whatever reason, we haven’t dealt our shortstop.

    After FAs begin to sign, you’ll see some action from Wren. Let’s hope it’s the right kind.

  45. I’m not saying what Wren is doing is bad. But I think he should not have “promised” to get two starting pitchers, a hitter, etc. If he doesn’t get them, people are going to be pissed (although probably not on this site). It’s true that, technically, most of their targets are still out there; a lot won’t happen until Sabbathia signs and then the cards will start falling.

  46. 68 — That doesn’t make much sense considering everything else we “know.” What was the context of the statement? He doesn’t want to play in Atlanta in 09 as it looks now? Or he just flat out doesn’t want to come to Atlanta?

    Stu — I was irked by Gammons’ comments as well. You’re better than that, Peter… pretend like you know what all the deal includes.

  47. I don’t recall him promising anything, Marc. He identified his offseason goals. I have no doubt that he’ll get two new starters and a corner outfielder—the drama is in the identities of those 3.

  48. Arkie got 10 against Texas because the 2nd string QB put the ball on the ground with 2 minutes to play and Arkie returned it 80 yards for a TD. Against Mizzou, Texas led 35-0 with a minute left in the half before Missouri got a last second FG to make it 35-3. Up until that FG drive, Missouri had fewer yards than Texas had points. Against A&M on Thanksgiing, you could look up on the scoreboard and see that the Aggies had 1 yard of offense with 4 minutes left in the first half. That is domination, no matter who you play.

    The Texas D is playing at a very high level right now, They have had a full year under Muschamp, (you SEC guys remember him I’m sure), and are starting to really get it. That isn’t even saying anything about the offense, Colt McCoy right now has 130 more completions than Tebow in 129 more attempts. Even if Tebow (who is a great player), completed his next 129 passes in a row he wouldn’t have the same completion rate as Colt – as well as Tebow has played that stat is pretty amazing – add that to the fact that Colt outrushed Tebow as well.

  49. I would love to get two “ready for prime-time” starting pitchers, but I would rather pick up a FA starter and get a prospect who can either help us next year or will be ready for 2010. This is basically what we did with Jurrjens and it’s worked well so far (although we don’t have anyone expendable quite the way Renteria was in 2007). Whoever scouted Jurrjens should have someone else in mind. With Hanson coming along and a prospect who won’t cost us our only legitimate ML SS or other ML ready players we’ve got a chance for 2009, but 2010 and beyond will be a lot more promising.

  50. 69,

    I don’t know, man. But the whole “maybe I don’t want to play without Escobar on the team after all” comment, mentioning to friends that he wants to be a Cub, and the (supposed) drama with the no-trade contract, it really makes me wonder. How much of that is bull? Who knows. The Padres organization certainly has a terrible poker face.

    I went back and forth on the Peavy deal, but I’m ultimately glad Wren stood his ground and didn’t get bullied.

    And for those of you condemning this offseason and 2009….guys….we haven’t even had the winter meetings yet….Hampton signing with the Astros is actually news compared to what’s been going on.

  51. Arg. Why is every decent OF bat left-handed? Seriously?? Bobby Abreu seems like a great value signing if, as Buster Olney suggests, he could be had for $8 million per year, but he’s left-handed and we just don’t need more left-handed bats. Stupid Frenchy. If it wasn’t for Frenchy, I’d be all for signing Abreu and then trading KJ for Ludwick, but with Frenchtacular around, there’d be no place to play them both….

  52. I really still think Peavey will end up in Atlanta. I think all of this is a charade to try to up the ante–although it seems to me that the Pads were going to get a pretty good haul anyway. Perhaps Towers thinks that if he waits and the other options don’t fall into place, Wren might get desparate and include Hanson. Doesn’t seem likely but I guess that’s how you play poker.

    As for Peavey not wanting to play here or there, I the saying applies–“if the player says it’s not about money, it’s about money.” I suspect Peavey would go almost anywhere if they paid him enough.

  53. YouTube has been causing protection errors for me for the last week or so — that may be what your computer thinks is a virus. Try loading one of the other threads and see what happens.

  54. I completely agree with both ububba (@52) and Stu (@65). Nice work fellas.

    Also, I just read DOB’s blog for the first time in a long time. Is that guy a beat writer or a PR rep for the Braves?

    So long as we don’t deal part of the future for Peavy–only to make us an 82-win team instead of a 76-win team–I’ll be happy. Of course, none of this says I trust Wren. That folks here are happy that nothing has been done yet suggests the level of collective confidence in our GM.

  55. So long as we don’t deal part of the future for Peavy–only to make us an 82-win team instead of a 76-win team–I’ll be happy.

    Yes, because Morton/Reyes and Gorkys Hernandez are really a better and bigger part of the Braves’ “future” than four or five years of Jake Peavy.

  56. You seem to have, with a straight face, completely ignored the inclusion of our starting shortstop in the deal, Dan. Well done!

    Has anyone complained about including Morton/Reyes or Gorkys?

  57. Spot on Stu. Morton/Reyes plus G. Hernandez isn’t the problem. Including Escobar–a very good shortstop who is under team control for 5 more years–is the deal killer.

  58. I don’t think including Escobar is a deal killer, but it does make it a “take it or leave it” deal, IMO. If you want to start throwing more players into the package, you’re nuts.

  59. Yeah. If the Pads don’t think Escobar plus is enough, that’s okay.

    And since someone asked, I’m willing to complain a little bit about losing Morton, but that’s because I think he’s got the stuff to be a quality starting pitcher at the big-league level. Like, a #3 or better if he gets his head on straight. But I wouldn’t stop the deal just because of that. Escobar/JoJo or Morton/Gorkys really ought to be enough, and if it’s not, well, I’m okay with going after Burnett instead. And if we do sign a FA instead of dealing for Peavy, it’d make dealing for Vazquez/Dye more likely, which, incidentally, is the route I’d prefer anyways. :-)

  60. I agree with 89’s comments for the most part, but I don’t believe it’s going to be so easy to land Vazquez AND Dye. It would probably take a package of 5-7 players with only two of them being low level prospects or throwins. Both of those guys are valuable commodities at a relative bargain price in this market, who doesn’t need a right handed bat and a number two starter? The white sox aren’t in salary dump mode, they are just trying to retool their team. We would probably have to deal Morton/Reyes/Esco or Johnson/Locke or Rohrbough/Schafer or Gorkys/ and then maybe one more reliever or a Flowers.

  61. On the Padres and their posturing.

    Maller on rumors on Fox quotes from the San Diego paper today that Towers said there was a problem in making the deal with the Braves because the Braves don’t like no trade clauses and he didn’t think Peavy would agree to terminate that.

    Guys, Wren knew that was part of Peavy’s contract. He knew the union wouldn’t let Peavy just throw it away (maybe they would let Peavy exchange it for the vesting of year 5). This “may” have had something to do with it, but I REALLY don’t think so.

    Quite possible Wren said in response to Towers’ demands, “well, you know we are already taking on a no trade clause and we don’t like those.” But, so would any other GM.

    The real problem is that Towers is trying to be able to “sell” the trade to the Padres fans as a “win.” Concepts like “they aren’t giving up their best prospect” or whatever.

    I like the Dye and Vasquez deal because I don’t think we would have to give up much and each of them could net us draft picks.

    For some reason, Neyer wrote today that he thought Lowe would get around 15 million a year and Burnett “a little less”. Does he not believe the stuff on his own company’s site that the Yankee’s have offered 16 a year for 4 years?

    If the 5th year is the thing, the Braves need to go get Burnett. Then, drop the offer for Peavy (delete Escobar, add somebody else) and re-submit it and watch Towers squirm.

  62. Is Wren a “no trade clause” guy just like Schurholz ( after all these years, I still don’t know how to spell it ).

  63. I think Peavy’s “no-trade” provision expires before the contract does. It may only have about a year left on it.

  64. I should say further that it seems that Peavy is asking that the team he accepts a trade to make the “no-trade” provision permanent.

  65. So both guys at ESPN have undefeated Boise State going to the Humanitarian bowl. This is the same bowl that featured Fresno State and a mediocre Georgia Tech team last year. I would be pretty upset if I were a Boise State fan and they went to the Humanitarian Bowl.

  66. I’m saying that people think we can get BOTH Dye and Vasquez for less than it would take to get Peavy. I think if the whitesox are going to trade one of their best bats and one of their rotation mainstays, it’s going to take a pretty serious haul. I don’t think we can somehow take the peavy package and replace Escobar with Flowers and remove the fourth (a ball pitcher) player and acquire a good bat, and a good starter who are both signed to reasonable if not bargain contracts. I’m saying that the package would probably look more like this:

    Shafer or Gorkys
    even with that haul, they’d still probably try to get us to throw in a merek or a boyer as well.

  67. If the WAC lets them out of their own bowl, Boise could wind up in the Poinsettia Bowl against BYU. That would be a pretty entertaining game.

    It’s unfortunate that the Fiesta is going to opt for Overrated St. instead of Boise.

  68. I do like the idea of getting those two whitesox though, if we can get a trade bargain. It would leave us with 17 or 18 million left to throw at free agents, unfortunately that’s not enough to get Burnett and a bat or burnett and Furcal and certainly we wouldn’t be left with enough trade chips to still have a chance at landing another impact pitcher or bat (Peavy, Ludwick, Greinke) in the trade market. I suppose if we could complete the multiplayer trade with the chisox without parting with Escobar we might be in pretty good shape.

  69. The bowls picking schools because they “deserve” to be there? Now why would that happen?

    Ohio State has a national alum base from which to draw. Boise State doesn’t. If I’m the Arizona Dorito Bowl, or whatever it’s called, that’s an easy decision.

  70. Did anyone see the recent article on SI about the decline of the shortstops? He makes a good point in the article that none of the last 8 WS champion teams have had an excellent shortstop (save for Rollins). He even goes on to say that “And yes, despite the hype associated with the position, you can win without a star at shortstop. It’s nothing like quarterback in the NFL.” You can click here for the article.

    Just something to think about for everyone who thinks that we MUST keep Esco.

  71. So how does one evaluate Derek Jeter from 1996 through 2000? Or Edgar Renteria from 1997? Didn’t they help their teams get to and win the WS?

  72. 102 — I haven’t read the article, and I’m willing to grant that you can win without a great SS. But that still doesn’t explain why you’d get rid of one that is young and under team control for years to come. That having been said, I wouldn’t be too up in arms if Escobar leaves in a deal for Peavy. I’d like to have Peavy, but I hope the price comes down.

  73. It’s probably a lot easier to win without a “star” SS if you have quality outfielders. We do not have A quality outfielder, let alone many.

  74. ithacabraves,

    Trades are {talent FOR years @ price) exchanged for (talent FOR years @ price). A veteran player only has value in a trade to the extent that his expected production, compared to his cost exceeds that of readily available talent.

    On 12/1 ESPN Rumors reports that the Reds are looking at Jermaine Dye “in exchange for young pitching” and that “it is complicated by money.” In other words, the Reds don’t want to take on the whole salary. At Dye’s age, production, salary, and injury level over the past few years he has essentially no surplus value. The only value he has, is that he requires only a 1 year commitment, has another option year, and would bring draft pick(s) IF he is good enough to afford to offer arb to. Even bundling all of that together, there is no way there is even more than $5 million surplus value.

    As to “available talent” compare Dye to Dunn, Burrell, Abreu. All are limited fielders. All are good hitters who occasionally are great. All other than Dunn are past the “prime years”. All 3 are probably available at 13 million over three or less years.

    Vazquez has been known to be available a while, but there has been almost no talk of interest by ohter teams. He is signed for 2 years at 23 total (right?). Championship teams are convinced he has no “heart” and will wilt when under pressure. Most people perceive him as a 4, although his numbers say 3. The White Sox are not looking to get rich (in players) off of moving him, either.

    Morton or Reyes, plus Rohrbaugh or Locke, plus Gorkys, if the Braves take on the full salaries of Dye and Vazquez, will get both of these guys. That gets Wren’s outfield bat (and from the right side), gets his second pitcher (well, maybe not quite, but close) and then if you get Peavy (whose price would drop if the Braves would go ahead and get a pitcher) OR Burnette, you have made it all work.

  75. Also, the Vazquez / Dye deal leaves Dye not blocking Schafer or Heyward (he’s gone in 1 year if you want to, or 2 if he is good and you wnat to keep him) and Vazquez not blocking the “next wave of pitchers” (Locke, Rohrbaugh, Richmond, Francis, Sullivan who are or should be 2 years out) or the “current secondary wave of pitchers” (Morton, Reyes, James, Campillo) while they have option years remaining.

  76. @107,

    See what Vazquez and Dye go for. Then add it up.

    Dye’s surplus value is 5 million. Vazques’ surplus value is similar. If Morton is a ML 4 pitcher for the next 5 cost controlled years he alone is worth more than that. The other pieces are “risk payments” (that is, we don’t KNOW that Morton will make it, Gorkys is a 4th ML outfielder (worth 3 to 4 million, net of cost) or better and Locke is a 2nd bullpen lefty (worth 2.5 million or better, net of scost).

  77. Cliff, your post at 106 is very well put. I have similar feelings about the relative value of a Dye/Vasquez package. It is not worth more than Peavy. Neither player is as good or is as much of a bargain or is signed as long.

    Peavy’s no-trade clause limiting the market may make the actual prices similar, though.

  78. Cliff, I don’t think Kenny Williams uses your surplus logic. Dye and Vasquez are proven, above-average major league ballplayers. Your hodgepodge of rookies and minor leaguers are not. They may *project* to be such, but projections are just that: projections.

  79. My desire to hang on to Escobar has little to do with the fact that he’s a shortstop other than the fact that we have no shortstop prospects even close to MLB ready.

    To the extent that his position matters to me, it is only because I believe he is a a good enough hitter out of that position to make him more valuable than his salary costs.

    If he played a corner outfield spot, I might not consider him a value, but as a shortstop he is an above average player making below average money.

  80. The thing I fear is that the Braves are now itching to trade Yunel. Like, maybe we’ll think we’ve dodged a bullet by losing out on Peavy…but then Yunel will be the centerpiece of a Vazquez/Dye trade. It’s at the point where I’d readily accept news of a KJ-for-Ludwick (even though I’m lukewarm at best on that idea) swap just because it would mean we’re keeping Yunel.

  81. Any chance Texas could play USC? They could call it “The Real National Championship”.

    Oh hell, now I’m banned …

  82. It’s stupid to trade Yunel. If it gets us Peavy, at least we’d have Peavy to build around and replace Yunel eventually. If we trade him for old parts that aren’t going to be around in 2 years I will be pissed.

  83. I have to admit that I think Texas could most likely beat USC (South Carolina). Seriously, I’m with you except let’s have the Bama/Fla – Ok winner face the Texas-USC winner. Of course 5 through 8 will scream, but that would be a simple way to decide. Of course the Rose Bowl and Pac 10/Big 12 probably will never agree to it.

  84. @116 – I totally agree. Absolutely insane to trade Esco for Vasquez and Dye (only 2 years). Peavy, on the other hand, would be a big part of our future.

  85. Penn State vs USC is probably going to be the best match up of all the bowl games this year. Those teams are identical.

  86. I would be okay with trading Yunel, not just for anyone, but for Peavy.

    I don’t think I would trade him for the Vasquez/Dye package, which may illustrate Cliff’s point.

    I don’t think we could adequately replace Yunel next year, but we could over five years (hopefully, two years). We could find equivalent defense at short and replace the offense at any of three outfield positions. I think we would have a harder time finding an ace pitcher over the next five years and we could stand a few of them.

  87. I wouldn’t complain too loudly if we traded Yunel for Peavy (I just don’t think we should sign Furcal on the heels of said trade).

    I would definately complain if we traded Yunel for a couple of past-their-prime rentals.

  88. The bowls picking schools because they “deserve” to be there? Now why would that happen?

    Yes, the bowl system is so unfair and tragic. I’m aware. Anyway, I didn’t say Boise deserved to be there. That’s a debate for another day. I’d just rather see them than boring ass Ohio St.

  89. I wonder how much money Boise State’s football team will lose this year even if they go to a BCS bowl.

  90. My rationale for supporting an acquisition of Dye/Vazquez is that, as I understand it, the ChiSox are trying to shed payroll, and these two are earning an awful lot of money. They are also on rather short-term commitments, so it’s not like there’s a ton of value being tied up there. Plus, both are relatively old in age, and Dye has had injury issues.

    It would be asinine to give up Escobar for both of these two, even by himself. If the asking price is more than a young, cost-controlled ML pitcher and some mid-level prospects, it’s too much. I’d rather pay Bobby Abreu than Jermaine Dye, and he almost certainly won’t cost any more and will come without giving up prospects.

    The market is tanking, and teams are shedding payroll. I see this as an opportunity to take on payroll instead of giving up premium talent. If the White Sox don’t look at it as a salary dump, then it’s not a deal to make.

  91. The bowls have always been about money and tourism, not who deserves to go. The Orange Bowl was started specifically to bring tourists to Florida. There’s no point beating your head up against a wall. Ohio State or Notre Dame are attractive teams because they have lots of fans and bring in lots of money. That generally helps SEC teams, I would think, because their fans travel. I think that is really why there will never be a playoff; the bowls have a lot of political influence with the NCAA and they do not want a playoff system that would degrade the bowls. But, frankly, if they aren’t going to have a real playoff, I would rather go back to the way it was and do away with these ridiculous bowl match-ups that will leave us with BC/Va. Tech vs. Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl. (I realize this happened, in part, because the Orange Bowl expected Miami and Florida State to always be powers.)At least in the old days, the major bowls weren’t stuck with turkeys and teams could vault over one another–this happened in 1970 with Nebraska, which was 5th going into the bowl game but ended winning the “MNC.” As it is now, only one bowl really means anything and half the time, it’s a fraud anyway. Plus, I liked it when January 1 was the height of the bowl season rather than now when the BCS title game is a week later.

  92. I agree with everything you say there, mraver. To be clear, I’m only talking about my fear re: the Braves’ view of Escobar and not actually promoting he be dealt for those guys.

  93. Jason at 112,

    Kenny Williams is a dealer. Just last year he sent out young pitching for Swisher and got Carlos Quentin for (sombody to Arizona who escapes me). If he deals Vazquez, Morton comes close to replacing Vazquez production in year 1. If he deals Dye, Gorkys solves his centerfield problem. Then, say he takes the 20 million and signs: Dunn for 3 years at 13 (which more than covers Dye)and Wolf for 3 yers at 9. Then, he has made the team as good this year and better in the future.

  94. #111
    That’s my point.

    Why even discuss the last 8 years of teams winning a World Series with “non-excellent” shortstops? The winning teams between 1996-2000 did have excellent shortstops.

    Winning teams are configured with different strengths and weaknesses. The Yankees won 4 titles with a future Hall of Famer at short. The Reds did the same in 1990, while the ’95 Braves won essentially with Rafael Belliard. (Blauser, a better-than-average SS, got hurt.)

    I’m sorry, but that story does not resonate with me. And how that indicates that we should offer up one of our better players (no matter the position), I still don’t get.

  95. Mac,

    I almost didn’t do this. But now I am “Mac baiting”.

    DOB has a fairly new blog up in which he says Rice is deserving of the Hall of Fame and Murphy isn’t. I threw a few jabs and didn’t get a response yet from DOB, but a few others chimed in.

    The worst thing is that the counter arguments of the “others” are basically, “so!”.

    And, I could have missed one, but that is a BRAVES blog and NOBODY had taken Murphy’s side. Did the Iranians take over while I was asleep last night?

  96. @128 – You give up something to get something. I still say we have a better team with Peavy (and let’s say Orlando Cabrera) than we do with Esco. Again – we have no true ace, and we won’t for a while unless we do something.

    And BTW, I say Cabrera instead of Furcal b/c it would leave us alot more money to spend on another pitcher and a power bat in the outfield.

    And we were saying the same thing really. Winning teams are configured with different strengths and weaknesses. I was just saying that our strength doesn’t HAVE to be a good shortstop like everyone seems to be indicating.

  97. …But please understand that there are VERY FEW people I would be willing to give him up for. I really like him, and he is definately fast becoming one of my favorite players. It just so happens that Peavy is one of those people I would be willing to go after.

  98. Joshua-

    The question isn’t whether the team is better with Peavy/Orlando Cabrera than it is with Escobar. It’s Peavy/Cabrera vs. Burnett/Escobar/$5 million/Morton/Gorkys/Rhorbaugh, and that’s certainly not a clear advantage to the Peavy side.

  99. @117

    Why would the Big 12 be against that? The Big Ten is the conference standing in the way of a playoff, not the Big 12.

  100. Me, three.

    One doesn’t get hot & bothered about Javier Vasquez, but he’d offer the rotation a modest upgrade.

    I don’t think Lillibridge or Jo Jo will ever be big contributors for us, so I say: Do that deal.

  101. And you’d be talking about a 10 or 11 million placeholder. We aren’t contending next year, so we have him, for what – 2 years, then we can try to compete. If we are going to spend that kind of money, it needs to be on younger people for longer commitments.

  102. It’s more than a modest upgrade. He’s a solid #3 in the AL, which gives him #2 upside in the NL, IMO. And he’s still a strikeout pitcher. Well worth $11.5 million and the likes of Lillibridge and Reyes.

  103. Rosenthal has changed it to “on the verge.”

    The Braves, moving to address their starting pitching needs, are on the verge of acquiring right-hander Javier Vazquez from the White Sox, according to major-league sources.

  104. I just think we have guys on our team that can lose 16 games for less money than 11 million. That’s 16 losses for a much better team than the Braves had. And don’t compare it to Peavy’s 11 losses of a year ago – the Pads had the worst offense of the decade…

  105. And saying a #3 starter in the AL is like a #2 starter in the NL is a bit over the top. Are you saying that #2 starter would automatically be a #1 in the NL – what would that make a #1 starter? If you are a #3 starter for one league, you are going to be a #3 starter for both. But I like him more as a #4. We could definately use him, no doubt in my mind – just too much money for a 2 year commitment when we aren’t going to get anywhere by having him. If he was a piece that could take us over the top, then I’d say HELL YEAH. But I just don’t see him that way.

  106. If we can dump Reyes and Lilli and another stiff for Vasquez i would do it, but I am a huge fan of his.

  107. Right-handed pitcher Javier Vazquez has been told he’s headed from the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves in a deal which is likely to be finalized on Wednesday.

    Vazquez is flying to Atlanta on Wednesday morning for a physical.

    A baseball source told ESPN’s Peter Gammons that the deal will include four other players, including reliever Boone Logan, who would also go from the White Sox to the Braves.

    Among the players expected to go from Atlanta to the Chicago organization are Jo-Jo Reyes, Brett Lillibridge and another top prospect.


  108. Joshua,
    Note the word “uspide.” I didn’t say he’ll automatically become anything. But the AL is a tougher league to pitch in.

    FWIW, Rosenthal changed his story to note that Reyes was discussed but will not be part of the deal. Says more young pitching is involved, though.

    Logan’s interesting. Wonder if that means we’re not bringing Ohman back.

  109. Rosenthal’s latest also suggest Tyler Flowers may be one of the players being traded. Not sure I like that – would have rather moved him in a bigger deal.

  110. Vazquez has pitched 200+ innings 8 of the last 9 years and has a career ERA+ of 105. He’s nowhere close to a #4.

  111. Joshua,
    Wow, Rosenthal’s updating that thing every few minutes. I would be fully against including Flowers in this deal, unless we’re getting Dye, too.

    And he strikes out 200 guys every year, too.

  112. Hopefully he didn’t read one of DOB’s comments where he called him an overpriced #4/5.

    That won’t be good for quotes.

  113. I wasn’t really comparing the 2 Stu, just saying he listed a career ERA+ but that isn’t necessarily indicative of what he will do next year…that’s all I was getting at.

  114. Looked through some comments on the Rosenthal article and elsewhere. Sounds like the White Sox fans are happy to be rid of him.

  115. Pretty sure Flowers is in the deal…it would be classic Braves to inflate Vazquez’s value. He’s a perfect American League DH. Bad deal. If Flowers is your trading chip you should be able to pluck more than Javier Vazquez.

  116. Ugh re: Flowers. That would be a lot to give up for Vazquez and would seriously lessen the Braves’ ability to make another impact trade.

  117. I didn’t like the deal without Flowers…lol. Now it is just terrible (if he really is included in the deal).

  118. I like the deal, with or without Flowers. Vazquez is a solid #2 SP, and he should thrive in Atlanta. The Braves have been after him for years now; this is probably their least-surprising trade target of the past few off-seasons…

  119. My snap reaction–Vazquez is an ok/good pickup (200+ innings/yr, nearly 9K/9IP, allows some HR but nothing outrageous). I like the reported deal (Lilli, Reyes, and Flowers for Vazquez & Logan) better than rumored trade for Peavy. Would like it even better, of course, if it didn’t include Flowers. Anyone else reading the pickup of Logan as an indication (for better or worse) that the Braves won’t be re-signing Ohman?

  120. I certainly hope that Flowers is not involved–but the idea that we would get Vazquez for Reyes and Lillibridge and another player is also wishful thinking….

  121. so basically we are getting Vasquez and this Logan guy for Flowers?? I’d be more than happy to give away Reyes and Lilli

  122. 168—see 149.

    I will say that if acquiring Logan means we’re now not planning to commit $4 million dollars per season to our 4th-best reliever, then I’m OK with giving up Flowers.

    Good grief. What would that 5-player list look like if Lillibridge made the top 3?

  123. Lillibridge, Flowers, Gilmore and maybe a low minors lefty according to DOB.

    JJJ is now our #2 then.

  124. DOB is now reporting Jon Gilmore is in the trade. I was cool with the Flowers Reyes, and Lilibridge deal, but I do not like to see Gilmore and another low level lefty pitcher substituted for Reyes. I know Gilmore is young, but he was a high pick. I don’t ever see Reyes and Lilibridge helping the braves, but I don’t like giving up a proven prospect in Flowers and a high upside guy like Gilmore.

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