Casey Kotchman

Casey Kotchman Statistics –

Ack. In all honesty, one of the worst regulars in the league. He’s a slick-fielding first baseman who doesn’t hit for power or walk and doesn’t hit for enough of an average to compensate, basically a new Doug Mienkiewicz with an easier to spell name. A good glove man in center or catcher or middle infield with slightly-below-average offense is a valuable player, at third base or even corner outfield something you can live with. At first, it’s big trouble. Kotchman has to either start hitting more homers — like, double what he has, minimum — or hit over .300. This .269/.336/.413 stuff (his career line) just won’t cut it.

Kotchman looked, in the minor leagues, like he would be a Mark Grace or Wally Joyner type of player, a high-average hitter with midrange power and a decent walk rate. So far in the majors, he’s been Rico Brogna, a complete nonentity who looks good in a uniform. Some of that may be the fault of the Angels and their “hitting” coach, Mickey Hatcher, who never saw a pitch he didn’t think someone should swing at. While Terry Pendleton has that reputation, his charges have in fact been pretty patient, and there were signs last year that he was getting through to Kotchman. Most importantly, after walking just 18 times in 398 PA in Anaheim, Kotchman walked the same number (and one more unintentionally, 16 to 15) in just 175 PA in Atlanta. He didn’t turn that into any production, but one thing at a time. He also cut down on his GIDP a little, another sign that he’s not just swinging at anything, but trying to find something he can actually hit. Kotchman is a rehab project in many ways, and if his pitch recognition can be fixed the player who was a top prospect may reemerge.

Is, in fact, a really good glove man at first base, and could win the Gold Glove in 2009. Slow, like most players of his type, eight career SB, seven career CS.

Worst Secondary Averages, major league first basemen, 2007-08 (min. 800 PA)

1 Ryan Garko .243
2 Casey Kotchman .249
3 James Loney .252
4 Lyle Overbay .278
5 Mike Jacobs .308
6 Kevin Millar .310
7 Derrek Lee .314
8 Richie Sexson .315
9 Adam LaRoche .318
10 Justin Morneau .326

273 thoughts on “Casey Kotchman”

  1. Re: Abreu from the last thread, Alex, I’d have no problem with that. (Though of course the son of a gun is a lefty, which doesn’t help us quite as much.) I’ve been very very in favor of getting a corner outfielder who can hit, and while I’d prefer Dunn, I wouldn’t have a problem with Abreu — as long as the money/# of years wasn’t crippling. Considering that the outfield market hasn’t gotten too many nibbles, I think we should definitely be in on him. Who cares about left field defense? Not me.

  2. Burrell seems like the best option. His inevitable fade down the stretch will coincide with the Braves inevitable fade down the stretch, so we’ll all have the perfect fall guy to pin it on….Wren.

  3. Do you think Abreu’s LF defense is that bad? I mean, I know he’s 35 byt it’s at least respectable.

    I’d hate to have him really suck at 38, but I am so desperate to see this team with some OF power, I’d even consider adding a ‘3rd year option’.

    To be honest, we need 2 power hitting outfield but I’m resigned at this point to another year of Francouer (sigh) and a rookie (maybe?) in Center in Schaefer, if Josh Anderson doesn’t beat him out in Spring Training.

    I would rather have right handed power but Abreu is more reliable offensively than free swinging Burrell because the last thing this team needs is another free swinger.

  4. Abreu would be fine for two years with a team option. I will take approximately anyone on a two year deal.

  5. What I’d like to see the Braves do this offseason:

    Sign Smoltz (~$7 million), Sheets (~$13 million), and Manny (~$21 million).

    Trade Diaz for a prospect or non-tender him.

    (Campillo, Hanson, Reyes, and Medlen around for depth.)

    (Other options include Carlyle, Acosta, Marek, Medlen, Reyes, O’Flaherty, Stockman, Ridgway, Ring, etc.)

    Escobar (SS)
    KJ (2B)
    Chipper (3B)
    Manny (LF)
    McCann (C)
    Kotchman (1B)
    Francoeur (RF)
    Schafer (CF)

    B. Jones

    If you get 200 combined innings from Smoltz and Sheets, that’s a good team. More than that, you could really have something. And you still have lots of guys, particularly young pitchers, available for mid-season or next-offseason trades.

    What I think we’ll see the Braves do this offseason (roughly):

    Sign Smoltz (~$7 million), Kawakami (~$7 million), and Perez (~$14 million).

    Re-sign Norton (~$1.5 million).

    Trade KJ for Ludwick or KJ and Reyes for someone slightly better/more of a sure thing than Ludwick (Dye?).



    Escobar (SS)
    Prado (2B)
    Chipper (3B)
    Ludwick/Dye (LF)
    McCann (C)
    Francoeur (RF)
    Kotchman (1B)
    Blanco (CF)


    That team will be OK and we’ll finally have a doorway to Japan. Doesn’t compare with the first (incredibly unrealistic but incredibly doable) option, IMO.

  6. As long as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Dodgers show interest in the same players we look at, we’ll always be ‘second fiddle’ for Japanese players.

    I love Ben Sheets’ talent but he always gets hurt. Still, I’d roll the dice at this point.

    There’s no way Manny is leaving So. California for Atlanta no less. No way. Manny loves the attention and adoration of the L.A. crowds. I wasn’t sure I bought that w/ Furcal but Manny will be a Dodger or an Angel.

    You left Tim Hudson out of your equation as I assume he will be back in August, right? Also, you left Tom Glavine out and there’s no lefthander in that rotation.

    I don’t think we need to “add” any relief pitchers. As long as the pitchers we already have – Soriano, Gonzalez and Moylan – are healthy, we’ll be fine.

  7. Listening to an interview with AJ Burnett on WFAN & he said a big reason he went with the Yankees is because “before I stop playing, I want a ring and I’m going to have a chance here 5 years in a row.”

    BTW, Abreu’s defense is amusing, but he’d be an upgrade to the lineup for sure.

  8. Well, I don’t want Glavine, which is why I left him out. Maybe I should’ve put him in the “What Will Happen” scenario.

    As for lefties, Perez is a lefty, and as for my desired rotation, I don’t care, but if you do, feel free to substitute Reyes for Morton.

    Manny will go to the highest bidder.

  9. Its too bad that players can no longer think of the Braves as a candidate for the World Series. This is not particularly surprising–but it clashes with the way most of us would like to see the team….

  10. Stu–I have a feeling that your second scenario is just a bit rosy. Anyway, I hope we can find a way to get Sheets and Dunn (I know this will never happen) and re-sign Smoltz.

    I am afraid we will wind up with Wolf–because Oliver Perez will be too expensive and Sheets will perfer to follow Burnett and find a ‘winner’…

  11. Wolf is represented by Tellem, Stephen.

    Anyway, my thinking with Perez was that (a) we still have a lot of money to spend, and (b) the Mets will get Derek Lowe instead.

    As for Sheets, I’d love to get him and I think we could afford him, but I think we’re too scared (perhaps rightly) of his injury history to make a move.

  12. I am afraid we will wind up with Wolf

    The Rafael Furcal thing may have a very big silver lining. Wren won’t be dealing anymore with Kinzer or Tellem; Furcal’s two agents in all of this. Tellem represent Randy Wolf. So the Braves may very well be out of the Randy Wolf thing due to his agent.

    Bad news though is that Kinzer and Tellem apparently represent Braves Yunel Escobar and Peter Moylan.

    Also, Sheets right now is seen as most likely to go to the Texas Rangers. Not really a “winner” there.

  13. Pretty sure they’re wrong about Escobar, Dan. If you go to the agents’ website, you’ll see that Moylan’s the only Braves player listed among their baseball clients.

    Never take MLBTR comments at face value.

  14. If Tellem and/or Kinzer were Escobar’s agent(s), it would be a conflict of interest for them to negotiate with the Braves for a replacement. Not that that stops agents.

  15. See, here’s a problem I see just among this current discussion thread.

    We all hate Kinzer, fine, but now we can’t deal with Kinzer, Tellem or Boras? I mean, don’t get me wrong, these guys are first class a–holes, but if Wren keeps “growing a list” of agents or GM’s who were ‘mean to him’, then he’s going to run out of people to deal with.

    The worst thing Wren can do is carry a grudge towards Kinzer and Tellem. We, the Braves fan-dome can hate these bastards, but Wren doesn’t have that privilege, not if we need to deal with the max # of clients possible to field a winner.

    And now we’re going to dump our best young player (Escobar) because of these nitwits? Can’t do business this way.

    If Wren wants to hold a grudge, he needs to step down and let someone else be GM.

  16. Lots of assumptions and straw men there, Alex, on the way to your conclusion. Is there a growing list, or just Kinzer? Is reneging being mean, or just unprofessional? Is Wren holding a grudge, or did he just get screwed over, like, yesterday? Are we dumping Escobar because of them, or are we not dumping Escobar at all, in that they don’t represent him?

  17. I think I had heard that somewhere.

    But the common denominator with ALL these agents is ties to the L.A. and NY areas.

  18. If it’s Escobar and Moylan we’ve got bigger problems. If it’s just Moylan I’d still be annoyed (I like the Aussie), but not nearly as bad for us. On the one hand I like the principle of not putting up with somebody who’s doing bad business (e.g. Barry Bonds), but on the other hand it’s tough to stay competitive (which I think is the Braves goal, though they can’t be competitive every year like they used to) when you hobble yourself by not dealing with a certain percentage of players because of who represents them.

    FWIW I can also see the “if you signed with Boras you knew what you were getting” view of a player, but let’s not forget that Boras has high-school scouts too and if the man with the big bucks and the big names tries to sign on as your agent when you’re 17 and throwing the heat it would be unreasonable to blame you for it. And as with many things, once you’re in “the system” it is probably hard for a player to leave Boras (or Tellem/Kinzer or any agent) once they’re the people you know who handle that part of your life.

  19. Any 17 year old who signs with Boras is a douche. At that age if you’re not playing for love of the game then I hate you.

  20. Just to add to what Charles is saying, a lot of these players are small town kids and easily susceptible to scum like Borass who can easily talk their way into any living room. Borass maybe pure evil, but he’s brilliant and has a Law Degree.

    The problem is, these guys at a very young age can easily be picked off when an agent like Borass or Tellem drives up in a ferrarri and an Armani suit and shows them a list of 100 All Stars they already represent and make millions for. It’s not exactly easy for any of these players to say no.

    Add to that that we are Atlanta, a big market for sure, but not NY or L.A., where just about all the major agents are based, so we are at a disadvantage, plus, all the Southern California, NY and Chicago teams have bigger wallets anyway.

    So with all these disadvantages, Wren has to swallow his tongue, sack up and deal with scum like Tellem, Kinzer, and Borass, even if in his mind, he’d like to (like the rest of us), run them over with the car.

  21. the former punk rock mogul in me wants to point that that “douche” and “high-school athlete” are pretty close to synonymous… but I’ll be nice.

  22. To be honest with you, if there were a lot more agents throughout the sport, maybe in different parts of the country and each agent had a smaller list of clients, you’d have greater and more even competition for these players.

    But Borass, Tellem and Kinzer are a handful of super agents and therein lies the problem. We may need a real life ‘Jerry Maguire’ to come along.

  23. @5

    Doesn’t the Vazquez contract also count towards the $40 million supposedly available before the offseason? If so, Sheets and Manny are, together, prohibitively expensive.

  24. Dix, do you normally try and talk yourself,illegally, into 17 yr old’s pants? Is there something you should tell us or maybe not tell us? Just worried, that’s all.

  25. Adam M,

    Wren never said $40 million. DOB asked if it was about that much, and Wren said it was. It could be more. DOB himself suspects that it’s more.

    Anyway, I go under the assumption that the payroll was raised from $90 million to $100 million. I’m off by however much the actual payroll is below $100 million.

  26. Dix, do you normally try and talk yourself,illegally, into 17 yr old’s pants? Is there something you should tell us or maybe not tell us? Just worried, that’s all.

    Depends what you mean by normally.

  27. MLBTradeRumors:

    3:02pm:’s Jon Heyman talked to Wren, who said he’s notified the Wasserman Media Group the Braves will no longer be doing business with them. It’s a bold move, as the agency has a robust client list.

  28. #36

    Holy brain fart, Batman….Dan, is that for real? Is Wren really taking that action? With Escobar and Moylan on the team and their deep client list?

    Oh good God.

  29. Count me in as not a fan of refusing to deal with the agency across the board. Better would be to publicly announce that we’re putting it behind us and considering it an isolated incident and look forward to patching things up with them over time. Or at most, announcing we’re never going to deal with Furcal again. Then, never forget the treatment they gave us in the Furcal deal, and don’t bend over backwards for them ever, but if a deal makes sense then a deal makes sense.

    Now I actually do think it’s time to fire Wren. The Braves cannot exist in an world where Boras and WMG clients are off limits.

  30. I like it.

    Alex, please stop repeating the fallacy about Escobar being one of their clients. It’s not true. No need to fear.

    Also, Boras clients are not off limits. They almost always command more than we’re willing to pay, but we still negotiate with them. Teixeira, Drew, etc., have been offered contracts.

  31. Wren petulant little act is only making this situation worse. Unfortunately, the agents that hold the talent hold the upper hand. I remember when the Orioles wouldn’t deal with a Boras client, until matt Wieters came along. This “I won’t deal with them” will last until they have someone we want at a price they will play for us for, at which point it will be over.

    Wren started great with the renteria trade; since then, not so good. this episode has now gone from a “C-” (face it, Frankie, the agent just beat you), to an “F” (because he beat you, you won’t play with him any more).

  32. Dix,

    Did you see Nick or bfan when you were there? They haven’t said anything in a while—I fear we may be too late. Alex is still commenting, so I know he’s not in the dark place yet, thankfully.

    EDIT: bfan! Whew.

  33. As far as I know, only Tellem and Kinzer are on the Braves’ list of agents to avoid. I know the Braves don’t like Boras, but I don’t think he is an agent they have a policy of never dealing with.

  34. Stu,

    Oh, I’m in a dark place all right my friend…it’s called Frank Wren’s tiny pea brain.

    If Wren were 8 years old and this was a playground, here’s what his response might sound like: “waaaaaaaaaa, I’m going to get the principal if you don’t stop being mean to me!”

    (and Stu, sorry I’m incorrect about Escobar – I missed that. I’m also relieved and happy to be wrong on that).

    In all seriousness, yes, it;s time to fire Frank Wren. I like the response I read earlier that the best way to publicly respond is dealing with this as an isolated incident, it’s just business, and we look forward to dealing with Wasserman again.

    Listen, my heart agrees with Wren and he and JS are certainly entitled to print Kinzer, Tellem and Furcal’s pictures off the web and attach them to the office dartboard.

    But when CNNSI or ESPN calls you, you act political because YES, these super agents have all the cards and if the Braves won’t deal with Wasserman, guess what, the other 29 teams will.

    I just talked to Mac on the phone and as evil as we all agree Borass is, Borass has never actually done this…Borass drives the price up to the moon, but once he says to (fill in the blank team) we have a deal, he means it. I’ll give the DEVIL his due there.

    And yes, the Braves have never stated they won’t deal with Borass – it was Schuerholz who wouldn’t be in the room with him but Wren will deal with him.

  35. Not on a ledge at all, but stunned by this turn of events, by an MLB GM. First he doesn’t get a deal closed and is used as a stalking horse. then, feely badly about being fooled, he denounces the guy who bested him in the negotiating arena.

    Given how badly the Phillies beat the Braves head-to-head last year, I expect Frank Wren to declare that that bridge is burned as well; we just won’t play the Phillies next year.

    Memo to Frank Wren: get better at your job. Until then, lie low.

  36. My belief is that the Escobar misunderstanding came about because of bad sentence structure. A writer put in a sentence about Furcal and Escobar that had an unclear antecedent, so that the apparent meaning of the sentence was that Tellem and Kinzer were Escobar’s agents.

  37. Keith Law just had a chat and it came up:

    The part I found funny was that they didn’t even get more. tools.

    Jeff (Los Angeles): What’s the deal with Rafael Furcal? Why would he verbally agree to go back to the Braves then bail on them for the Dodgers? That’s not the type of player I want here in LA.

    Keith Law: It’s not his player – it’s his agent. It sounds like they had a verbal agreement, his agents found out they could get more from LA, so they reneged. (I’ve tried to reach Kinzer but he hasn’t returned the call.) If that’s accurate, I’d have a hard time ever dealing with them – your word is critical in this business.

  38. I think I’m repeating myself, but I understand Wren’s doing this, though I think it may have been a poor choice. Brass tacks are that we can’t be as choosy as some teams, but we have to be choosier than others… and hobbling our options by not dealing with agent X or Y is going to make it tough.

    Now what I suspect is that, because the press is mostly critical of the agent, the agency comes out with an apology of some form so they don’t lose face amongst other GMs, we accept it, and we just deal with them more cautiously in the future.

  39. I was pissed yesterday, now Im over it. Yeah, the agent screwed Wren over, but just let it go. No point in bringing all this stuff out, it only makes it worse

  40. If Frank Wren were Jay Leno, instead of of putting on a good public face and taking over the 10 PM slot at NBC, Wren would say “screw you, NBC!” and start a talk show on Versus.

  41. I disagree that it makes it worse. I think Wren’s taking a strong, principled stand, and it’s one I support. Hard to know yet whether it will backfire—that current “robust” client list we’re turning away from certainly doesn’t worry me much—but I have a lot of respect for this move.

  42. Stu, emotionally, I agree with you. These guys are pissant losers for what they did. Wren is the victim, I wholeheartedly agree.

    But the agents control this business and the other 29 MLB teams aren’t going to all form a picket line with Wren and JS and suddenly ALL stop delaing with Wasserman. Frank Wren isn’t Norma Rae.

    So because it’s 2009, and sports is a business and there’s a reality here, the bad guys in this case WIN, you swallow your pride and you kiss and make up and deal with these scumbags.

    I don’t like it one bit and if I ever meet Arn Tellem, I’d bitchslap upside his head, but this is reality and JS and Wren have made a professional mistake that’s only going to make the Braves look more pathetic. Free agents are going to be even less inclined to sign with us now.

  43. does anyone wonder why Wren didn’t just put their last offer on the table and tell the agent that they had an hour to sign, or the Braves would pull the offer, to preclude shopping the offer with another team and effectively giving them a right of last refusal?

    There are ways to deal with people who go out and shop your offer, in the business world. Frank Wren is paid to understand that.

    Taking a stand of no dealings against an agent who represents talent that we might otherwise want just strikes me as silly and impetuous. As someone said before, just be forewarned when you deal with them again, because, in their efforts to serve the interests of THEIR CLIENT, they shopped our offer to another organization. They would probably do it again. But it would be my guess that other agents would, too.

  44. Back to 1B.

    Here’s an area we ought to be able to upgrade without causing upheaval or embarrassment. Still don’t know that we gained anything by trading LaRoche.

    Serious question: would you rather have Kotchman or The Mighty Thor manning 1B for us?

    Just listened to DOB’s long interview with Gasbag Belue. He defended Wren and spent some time giving the company line about not going after a power-hitting OF because we’d block Heyward and Francouer will likely turn it around. (Making the up-and-down movement with my fist, here.)

    OK, how ’bout this, Frank? We sign Dunn to a 3-year deal. Bat him cleanup. Move him to 1B when / if Heyward is ready. Win a few games.

  45. bfan, I’m beginning to think you’re being purposely dense about what happened. They didn’t shop our offer. They shopped our agreement.

    I’m just going to stop reading any post that references “the business world”….

  46. Alex,

    I don’t think Wren & Co. expect the other teams to fall in line with them. That’s why this move is so remarkable (in a good way), IMO.

    Also, as usual, you exagerrate a whole lot in trying to make your point. WMG has some clients, but it’s hardly all of MLB. (Seriously, take a look at the list of their clients before spouting off about how doomed we are with all MLB players.) There are plenty of guys who’ll still be interested in taking Atlanta’s money.

  47. Stu, that’s why I said it may have been a poor choice. If this were 1999 and we were still the big gun in the game (at least the non-NY big gun) JS would’ve had a LOT of room to make a principled stand and it would’ve most likely been the agency that got the heat. Now I’m not sure if it will hurt us or not, my feeling is it won’t hurt us a ton, but it may limit us in the future. The “how much” will largely be determined by how this plays out (if more GMs step in and say this was unethical, or more teams avoid dealing with their clients, then I think it won’t hurt us, otherwise we may have a few people we’d like to sign that we can’t).

    That said, I understand the Braves office publicly stating that they won’t deal with the agency, and I’m not going to fault them for taking a principled stand. I want to win, but maybe not as much as the next guy, because I think that doing it at the expense of your principles isn’t a good thing.

  48. Well, I didn’t say this in the post, but I think Kotchman might be the key to the season. He’s the one player we have who seems most likely to improve dramatically from his 2008 performance, and if the outfield isn’t greatly boosted, the Braves will need that.

  49. Mac,

    You nailed Kotchman so splendidly, we are in awe and can’t add anything to the discussion.

    (Actually, that is probably a large part of it. Good work).

  50. On Kotchman: I’m hopeful—not quite optimistic—that we’ll see something closer to his minor league numbers this season.

  51. Kotchman is a project I think. Fortunately, I think we have time to be patient with him. Same with Francoeur. I’d give each 2 years to turn it around, if they don’t, then pay for their replacements.

  52. Yeah, Stu, I’m just “emotional” and “spouting off”. Well, I suppose that’s still less insulting than what Marc said to me in the previous thread. Good lord.

    I am feeling very cogent in my thoughts and CharlesP has again eloquently stated my belief.

    Great point, Charles about us being a big gun back in the 90’s that had the chops to pull off a stand against a snakey agency. We don’t now. We’re a middle of the pack team with a middling budget.

    If the Red Sox said they were done dealing with Tellem, you better believe ESPN would have 24 hour coverage and gammons would be following Theo Epstein into the men’s room. (well, he might anyway….but I digress).

    And Stu, it’s not JUST about those 60 players on Tellem’s list. Let me get “emotional and irrational” (ha, JK) and say that this can reverberate to other players and other agents about how uptight and emotional the Braves are. Plus, other players and agents may understand what Kinzer did in trying to get the “best deal possible” – it maybe snakey, but most players want that.

    So, when they see JS and Wren go apesh– at Tellem and his group and declare war, this sends a larger message to other agencies and other players.

    But yeah, I’m just irrational and emotional and all over the place making NO sense. Have a dialogue with me but don’t insult my intelligence. I can hold my own.

  53. #66-You couldn’t be more wrong:

    offer + acceptance=agreement.

    There was no agreement until it was signed by both parties; it was not signed by both parties. Therefore, it was only an offer. That is why Frank Wren, in the newspaper, said there was nothing the Braves could do about the situation (but bitch and moan apparantly). The agent got us to make a best and final offer, and i am sure we stretched the numbers to the best we could do, and left ourselves naked to the agent going back and checking with LA on our numbers.

  54. I shudder to think that Kotchman is “the key to the season,” but I agree that his performance is one of the biggest unknowns — it could range anywhere from a huge negative to a moderate positive. McCann, KJ, Yunel, Chipper, we have a pretty good idea of what they’ll give us. Javy Vazquez could be just as much of a key to the season, since he could be anything from a #4 to a #2.

    Of course, Francoeur could be the key to the season if he ever turns in a decent season, but I think we all know how likely that is.

  55. bfan,
    Are you familiar with oral agreements? From the Heyman article:

    As Wren tells it, he and Kinzer, Furcal’s main rep, negotiated the terms over several calls Monday night, and after Kinzer told Wren that if he raised the base a little, they’d be able to make a deal, Wren did just that. Kinzer then told him “I think we’re good,” but still explained he had to take it to Furcal.

    Sometime later, there was a message on Wren’s voicemail with Kinzer saying, “We’re good. Raffy’s excited. Send me the term sheet.”

    Not much of a stretch to argue offer and acceptance on that one.

    Where did I call you emotional or irrational? Calm down, dude.

  56. Yes, but that doesn’t mean Wren wasn’t justified in believing an agreement had been reached. Nobody’s arguing that the Braves have any legally enforceable claims here—only that Kinzer unquestionably acted like a prick.

  57. I think that’s a given, definitely. HOWEVA, I pity the fool who really believes they can rely on an unenforceable oral agreement for $30million+ before it’s reduced to writing in this day and age. That deal ain’t done till the ink is dry.

  58. @78 – nobody is arguing that. The point being made is that it is WIDELY known around baseball that a term sheet signifies an agreement between the 2 parties. It might not be that way in the rest of the business world, but in baseball it is like law. That is why JS is so livid.

  59. I think I want Tellum to fire Kinser so that we can deal with WSM again. Show some backbone Tellum – you’re guy f’d up!

  60. @74

    I just want to take a moment and analyze this gem:

    I am feeling very cogent in my thoughts

    That is a linguistic masterpiece of epic proportions. My brain exploded trying to parse it.

  61. RE: Kotchman

    I think my minimum expectations are the numbers that he put up after the trade. From there, I will think that he sucks, but as of now, I still think that the outfield will be a greater cause of concern.

    That being said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him be a major league average 1st baseman (obviously including defence) and from there, I would be content. The team is at the point where simply not having a gaping hole at a position is a good thing.

    I think the chances of him becoming significantly better than average are small. However, I think he potentially has the capability to play in that manner. (That is, I wouldn’t think he was abusing ‘roids.)

    I do agree with Mac in that he is one of the few potential “good” question marks on the team. We’ll see.

  62. The Angels are a unique bunch. They approach the game in unconventional and daring ways. It has worked for them and, of all the AL teams, they’re the one I enjoy watching most. They’ve managed to win with people like Figgins & Kotchman, but they also have great pitching & Vlad.

    Away from the Angels, Kotchman seems like the kind of guy who can be helpful to a team that has lots of punch in other places.

    Unfortunately, the Braves don’t seem like they’re going to be that kind of team in ’09. I hope he has a much better year than he had in ’08. We’re gonna need it.

  63. From BP’s recent interview with the great Rico Carty:

    CL: Speaking of scouts and signings, there’s a story that you signed with more than ten teams at the same time and the commissioner had to intervene, awarding your rights to the Milwaukee Braves. What’s the real story?

    RC: During the ’59 Pan-Am games at Chicago, I played so well that all the scouts were impressed and quickly came with offers to sign right there. I had already signed with three teams of the Dominican League, but the truth is I just wanted to play baseball, and since I had no idea how serious those offers really were, I said yes to everyone that gave me one, just in case the others didn’t work out. In the end I signed with nine major league and three winter ball teams. But here’s the thing, I didn’t take a single penny from anyone, because I’ve learned not to be seduced by money, and money was not my goal. That helped my case with the president of the minor leagues, because he saw there were no malicious intentions from my part. Finally my rights were awarded to the Estrellas team in the Dominican, and to the Braves in the major leagues. I was signed by John Mullen and Ted McGraw for the Braves for $2,000.

    Our man Kinzer’s got nothing on the Beeg Boy!

  64. I’m somewhere between hopeful and optimistic on Kotchman that he’ll be OK. I don’t expect to turn him into Tex. In fact, all I really hope for out of him is something near what Adam LaRoche is doing (.275 and 20HR)… hmmm… that’s a little depressing to be wishing for… oh well. Either way… if he gives us that line (probably a bit better average and not quite the power seems more likely) he’ll be serviceable at his position and if he’s cost controlled for a couple years I think we’re best served by not worrying too much about him not being an all-star 1B.

    Edit: Ick, just looked and if he doesn’t bump up the power he’s looking like James Loney, Lyle Overbay, or Ryan Garko as a first baseman… and those aren’t exactly great names to be associated with. Though I must remind myself that he wouldn’t be a gaping offensive hole per se… just fudging around the average line.

  65. Kotchman, ehh, at this point Im happy to have him just because we have to many other needs. He doesnt really do much for me and I hope Freeman gets ready pretty soon.

    Id love for a .285/.360/.440 line from him

  66. Id say Loney is better offensively, although its very alarming of how big of a drop off he had last year

  67. I’ll echo some prior sentiments on Kotchman. I assume he won’t be the power bat we need (not that we expect it from him), but I don’t expect him to be so unproductive that he’s a minus at the position. It helps that he’s got a good glove, but, as presently constituted, we could use a bigger stick.

  68. csg,
    I don’t expect Kotch to perform like he did in ’07—that looks almost freakish compared to his career numbers—but I couldn’t moan about an 800 OPS in ’09.

    He can pick it, but he’s no Orlando Cepeda with the stick.

  69. Don’t think I’ve seen this posted yet, but we signed Lance Niekro to a minor league deal…to be a knuckleballer.


  70. I think Kotchman would be Brian McCann-ish. Few walks, few Ks, some power and average. I’d be happy if he does that.


    … great. Now I want Lance to make the team just for the sheer entertainment value.

  71. Sam, McCann is one of the 20 best hitters in the league, regardless of position. (And hardly “few walks” — his OBP was 72 points higher than his BA.) If we got McCann production from first base, we’d be basically where we were when we had Teixeira.

  72. I mean it in the extremely basic sense. Kotchman doesn’t strike out or walk much, but he can hit for some average and some power. It won’t be as much as McCann, but I think he’s in the mold of the kind of hitter McCann is.

  73. Kotchman is a nice player to have, but ububba’s opinion hits the bulleye. Since we don’t have much power in the other positions, he actually becomes a liability if he does not perform better.

    Kotchman’s minor league track record indicates he should be a better hittter than Adam, I hope it will finally become true in 2009.

    Way to go Wren, stay away from Boras and Tellem and you will become another JS soon!

  74. Even then, I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Kotchman, if he’s going to be a good hitter, is going to have to be more of a LaRoche type. Kotchman’s upside is the sort of numbers Don Mattingly or Will Clark put up in an ordinary year, or Mark Grace would in a good one. He really should never hit 30 homers in a season, which McCann easily would if he got more than a catcher’s share of plate appearances.

  75. This sort of player:


    1 John Olerud 4
    T2 Pete O’Brien 3
    T2 Wally Joyner 3
    T2 Eddie Robinson 3
    T2 Jim Bottomley 3
    T2 Bill White 3
    T2 Kent Hrbek 3
    T2 Will Clark 3
    T2 Alvin Davis 3
    T2 Mark Grace 3
    T2 Cecil Cooper 3

  76. Mac,
    Most of those guys had those .300/20hr seasons back in the decades when that kind of production made you a strongly above average hitter.These days, with smaller parks, apparently weaker pitchers, those numbers just don’t seem as outstanding.

    He looks like he has a decent idea at the plate, but something just wasn’t clicking. Kind of like KJ 50% of the time, except with less patience, and more weak contacts rather than KJ’s manner of just missing the ball completely.

  77. yeah, nothing was clicking because TP decided to change his stride as soon as he got to Atlanta. Tp was trying to get him to shorten his stride for some reason right after he hit 3hr in his last 4 games with the Angels.

  78. How much of Kotchman’s problems last year stemmed from his personal issues? Maybe he really will bounce back this year. I certainly hope he does, too, because Mac is right – we really need him to pick it up this year.

  79. #110 – Id say going from the best team to a terrible team and having the family problems were pretty rough on him

    August – .180/.292/.246/.538

    Sept – .305/.394/.402/.796

  80. Wow, I hadn’t looked at his month-by-month stats. If we get 305/394/402 production from him next year…

    we’ll still need a power bat in the outfield. But hey, it’s a start.

  81. I was in Austin all of last week and yes, this news is a week old but I JUST saw the news that the Mets landed JJ Putz last week on 12/11. Missed that. (I didn’t miss the K-Rod signing).

    Should I assume there was a lot of hand wringing in here? The Mets now have a dealy 8-9 inning punch with Putz and K-Rod.

    Sure, if healthy, we have the bullpen to match but the Mets ‘pen now is scary. Sorry, I know everyone got this about their system but my incredibly bad mood today is now darkened worse seeing this old news about JJ Putz and seeing the dreck the Mariners took. Sigh.

    In fact, after seeing what the Mariners traded, clearly Frank Wren is not the worst GM around.

    Anyway, you guys have already dealt with this…

    Arn Tellem:

    They had this scum’s response on the AJC site a little while ago and the part where he condascends about the Braves is really where he should expect them to never deal with them again.

    After seeing Tellem’s response, it’s pretty hard for JS and Wren NOT to be pissed.

  82. Okay, let’s limit it to since 1987:


    1 John Olerud 4
    T2 Will Clark 3
    T2 Don Mattingly 3
    T2 Mark Grace 3
    T2 Wally Joyner 3
    T6 J.T. Snow 2
    T6 Scott Hatteberg 2
    T6 Derrek Lee 2
    T6 Alvin Davis 2
    T6 Shea Hillenbrand 2
    T6 Paul Konerko 2
    T6 Darin Erstad 2
    T6 Kent Hrbek 2
    T6 Lyle Overbay 2

  83. Unbelievable response by Arn Tellum! If JS was that pissed before, God knows what his reaction to that little gem about the CBA and the National Labor Relations Act, and acting in the best interest of our organization and using our better judgment was. How dare he deem to tell us what’s in the best interest of our organization?!?! What a complete schmuck!

    I have a two word response for Arn Tellum: Fuck you!

    He can take the National Fair Relations Act and shove it six feet up his ass!

  84. And incidentally, congratulations to Scott Boras. He has moved up in the world this evening. He is now officially no longer the most odious sports agent in the country, because at the very least, Mr. Boras a)appears to still know the meaning of a term sheet and b)even when JS refused to work with him, didn’t bring up the freaking Labor Relations Act or imply that he knew the best interest of our organization better than we did OR have the gall to talk about our better judgment after screwing us. So congrats on your ascendancy, Mr. Boras. Kudos.

  85. OK fine. I say we make a blanket offer to all unsigned Tellem clients tomorrow. A one-year contract for the major league minimum. There. We’ve negotiated. Now go fuck yourself.

  86. Notice that Tellum used a bunch of legal jargon and never actually denied going back on his word.

  87. It’s possible that Tellem’s statement might be indicative of the punishment you were talking about, Alex. By going public with the shenanigans Tellem’s agency engaged in, Wren and JS might have eroded some of the confidence Tellem’s clients have in his deputies’ ability to handle contract negotiations. So he’s forced to publicly wrap himself in labor agreement legalese in order to save face. Maybe it works out for him, maybe not. But everyone is on notice now, that’s for sure.

  88. I do think if a sports agent is blacklisted by any Major League franchise that other agents will use that against them.

    Chances are this hurts Tellem’s agency and it should.

  89. Parish–I hope that you are right–but that said, the Braves’ righteous indignation is hardly a way to go forward either.

    It looks to me that Wren’s mistake was forgetting that in dealing with Wasserman he probably had to have more than one agent sign off on the deal. If that is indeed the case, it is a pretty big mistake and one that I think a GM should not make.

    I understand why he is pissed, but I never met or seen a successful business person who got to do business only with those whom he or she liked….

    At least we are not getting Wolf…

  90. Guys,

    I think the real issue is that Wren should have kept his “sources” quiet. They could have said to DOB, etc. “when we have a deal, we will let you know.” That was a first problem.

    But the bigger problem was on the leak of possibly moving Furcal. I am sure when Furcal said yes he figured the Braves had a deal done to move Escobar (why else would they pay him 10 million a year?). The answer to do you have a deal in place or what are you going to do with Furcal should have been “we are obtaining a good offensive and defensive player and this improves our options.” That is it. No, “we might move Furcal to 2nd, we might trade Esco or KJ, we might put KJ in left (after denying it over and over before). Just shut the F up.

    Then, when Furcal heard 2b, he sppoked off an agreement that wasn’t binding, asked his agent whathe could do, the agent said “it isn’t usually done, but rtechnically we do not have an enforceable deal (which is what the agnet HAD to tell him) and Furcal made the decision.

    Thre was no reason for JS or Wren to trash the agent. He probably deserved it, but that helps nohting. They should have said, “We had a deal by all standards typical in the industry. Either the agent or player violated those understandings. We wil continue to work in an ethical way to build our club.” That’s it. Don’t throw a grenade.

  91. According to Wren he discussed the move to 2B with Furcal prior to the deal being struck, and Furcal was OK with it.

    Agreed, though, that if Wren made a mistake here it was having the FO essentially confirm the deal prior to a contract being signed. MLB teams do this all the frickin’ time, of course, but it’s premature. I suspect you’ll see the Braves take a much more cautious approach in the future.

  92. Here is what we know.

    1. The Braves thought they had a deal.
    2. Furcal either reneged on the deal or there was confusion about the agreement.
    3. Furcal is not going to be a Brave.

    Number 3 is all that matters. The current state of the Braves is no different than if Furcal had accepted the A’s offer. Furcal’s a douche, I knew that several years ago. Owners have been hating Arn Tellem for a long time. I recall when the Charlotte Hornets were furious with him over some client back when I was in high school.

    It’s time for the Braves to shut it and move on, even if they did get screwed. The response has been overkill. Take it up with agent and keep it out of the media. It’s making the team look like whiners. And having John Schuerholz come out to the media makes Wren look even weaker.

  93. Cliff,
    Not sure what your point is, exactly. Wren was quoted in one of the many stories that came out yesterday as saying he called Furcal on Monday and cleared with him the idea of playing 2B. Do you really think they’d be signing him to play that position and not tell him? Or that they should?

    I agree that Wren looks weaker, but that’s irrelevant, isn’t it? As long as JS is involved and we have someone playing the “bad cop” role, the Braves are as strong as ever.

    And of course I disagree that the Braves are wrong to have gone public with WMG’s doucherific prickery.

  94. We’ve heard a bit of an outcry from other GMs saying they too would be furious if this was done to them. Does anyone think that the agency will lose some clients over this? I would think Moylan has to be considering a change.

  95. Don’t mind the Braves coming down on WMG. I think it’s better to be thought of as a a$$hole than a pussy. I do agree with JC in that Wren is further marginalized by the fact that JS had to do it.

  96. None of this gets us one or two outfielders or a top-of-the-rotation starter or Smoltz back. Until those things happen, I’ll be relieved if the Braves win 70 games.

  97. From the SF Chronicle:

    The Braves are intrigued by the notion of turning Niekro into a big-league knuckleball pitcher and do not see this as a lark.

    “I don’t think you’d ever undertake anything unless you felt it could develop into something,” said Kurt Kemp, the Braves’ director of player development. “We all feel it’s definitely one of those things like, what have we got to lose? We surely aren’t looking at it as a novelty, but as something nontraditional. We’re legitimately going to set a course of action to develop his knuckleball and give him a chance to pitch through spring training and see where we are.”

    Niekro lives close to the Braves’ spring complex near Orlando. He will report to minor-league camp in mid-February and work with Uncle Phil, the Hall of Fame knuckleballer who pitched in Atlanta from 1966-83 and continues to be what Kemp called “a great ambassador” for the Braves.

    Phil and Lance have been working seriously on the pitch for about five weeks. Phil is visiting Lance’s home now for pitching lessons and some fishing.

    There will be challenges. Lance had surgery on his right shoulder early in his pro career and confessed the shoulder has been barking at him since he started throwing this winter. He also has to develop some secondary pitches.

    “I’m working on a few,” he said. “I can’t give away all my secrets.”

  98. Before I catch up on the last 40 posts or so I just have to say I’m stoked by the Neikro signing… I remember the first time I saw Phil pitch when I was a kid and having a very WTF!?! (except more innocent and kidlike) reaction, and then being totally fascinated every time he was on the mound. He was a favorite of mine.

  99. I guess I haven’t seen enough knuckleballers. Is it weird that Lance doesn’t have a leg kick…at all? He’s like the anti-Dontrelle Willis.

  100. The young among us who didn’t actually see Phl Niekro have missed a treat. A sometimes overlooked part of Phil’s greatness was the durability from the knuckler. Over 300 IP several times. 40 starts or more. Wow.

    Most of the time, the knuckler appeared to start a break in one direction and go two or three inches toward that way, then come back 180 degrees or so in another direction 6 inches or so. The power hitters couldn’t handle it. The “punch and judy” guys sometimes hit Niekro well.

    I, however, do not expect even mediocrity at the ML level from Lance. It’s more than a stunt, but no more than an expeiment / lottery ticket.

    What WOULD make sense about this would be to have Phil Niekro analyze MULTIPLE Braves minor league pitchers for other prospects that might be likely to make it work and to add the knuckler to the repertoire of some who already may have other fringy ML pitches. That could make a “bad 5” into a “good 3” or a “# 3 righthanded reliver” not a “righthanded set up guy”. THAT would add value.

  101. I haven’t seen much knuckleballing so those of you who have can answer this perhaps.

    Do you think that if a fringe MLB pitcher you tried to work a knuckleball in as a regular pitch, that he would be able to disguise it?

    You pretty much know the knuckleball is coming so it wouldn’t really work as a change of pace pitch for a guy with other pitches.

  102. Ciff–I largely agree with you–but I do remember when Phil Niekro saved Joe Niekro’s career by teaching him a few things about the knuckleball. However, this is easier said than done and Joe also possessed a better arm than Phil, but its worth a shot….

  103. Dix–I am not sure there is any need to disguise a knuckleball: Phil Niekro used to say that he throws it, but did not know where it would then go. This was probbly a half truth, but it has proven to be both hard to pitch, hit and catch.

    One of the fun things about watching Niekro pitch was seeing the knuckler ‘explode’…

  104. I know its not the purpose of the knuckler to be a change of pace pitch. It’s usually a main pitch, so I guess the fastball or other pitches would be the change of pace pitches for a knuckleballer.

    My question really pertains more to taking a fringe guy who may not otherwise make the MLB, who someone suggested you might teach a knuckler to. Wouldn’t he have to make the knuckleball his primary pitch, because if it’s just another pitch in the repetoire, it probably wouldnt be effective unless thrown repeatedly. Because it’s so easy to spot before it’s thrown (arm speed and whatnot) a batter could simply take the pitch when it gets mixed in. You’d have to throw it frequently enough that simply taking it is not a viable option due to the chance of getting three strikes with it.

    Otherwise, maybe it’s just a two strike out pitch?

  105. Yahoo mentions Chuck getting non-tendered, but expects the Braves to offer him a minor league deal.

    And while I realize it’s a danger that they might hurt themselves doing it… I sort of like that Chuck James and apparently Kyle Davies do the working construction in the off season thing. It’s a refreshingly anti super-star attitude.

  106. Generally, you always know a knuckler’s coming. It’s just hard to hit the thing.

    Phil Niekro would throw his “fastball” a couple times a game, but it would usually be on a 2-0 or 3-0 count. He also threw the eephus pitch, but he’d only break that out a few times a season. Otherwise, he was all-knuckler all the time.

    Niekro also had a terrific pickoff move to first base, and he could hit a little bit. I’ll never forget his HR in San Diego, during the last series of the 1982 season, to help win the NL West that year.

    And RIP Dave Smith, an outstanding reliever for Houston. Like Joe Sambito before him, he’s a guy I saw pitch for the Southern League’s Columbus Astros when I was in high school.

    Outside of Astros fans, he’s probably best-known as the guy who gave up Len Dykstra’s game-winning HR in the ’86 NLCS. But he was a really consistent performer on an always pitching-rich roster & was one of the links between 2 of Houston’s best clubs—1980 & 1986.

  107. He does, 151. I saw him throw one to Andruw Jones when the Braves played the Netherlands during Spring Training a few years ago. Hi-larous.

  108. @153

    The only player I was upset about with the Tex deal. I’ve seen him live twice; he really looks like a bigger stronger Pedro. I’m terrified this is reverse karma for the Alexander/Smoltz deal.

  109. The thing that is so different with the knuckle ball is the delivery. That is, most of them won’t “knuckle” unless they are under 75 mph and the arm has to come forward slow.

    The kind of fringe guy I was thinking of would be a (?James Parr?) 88 mph fastball guy that needs something else.

    The knuckleball does depend on “swing and miss”. Typical “control” is to try to throw it at the center of the plate and count on late movement in almost any direction making it hard to have solid contact.

    But, sombody with an almost major league fastball slider combo that could add a knuckler would really get a boost. Plus, the wear is less both on innings and on years.

  110. By David O’Brien

    December 19, 2008 11:43 AM | Link to this

    6-4-3: Despite Baldelli’s recently updated and improved diagnosis (they now say his disease is treatable with meds and he hopes to be able to play more), I think the Braves view him as still having too many question marks to pursue as the run-producer they’re looking for.

  111. There is no reason that pitchers can’t use the knuckleball as a changeup; for the first half of the twentieth century, that’s what most pitchers used it as. But from Wilhelm on, it’s been seen as a specialty pitch and used only by specialist “knuckleballers”.

  112. Who doesn’t have too many question marks to be the run producer we are looking for??!?!?!?!???????????!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!?!?!

  113. Mac, how does the knuckler work as a changeup. The changeup is deceptive, not just because of the change of speeds but because that change of speeds comes from the grip and release of the ball, while ideally the arm speed and angle are the same as the fastball. The batter shouldn’t be able to tell that a changeup is coming before the ball is released. How can a knuckleball be similarly disguised?

  114. The knuckleball is a changeup. There are three families of pitches. There are fastballs. There are breaking balls. And there are changeups, where the grip is altered to make the ball move differently than the arm action would indicate. The knuckler is in the changeup family; the pitcher grips the ball so it doesn’t spin, which causes it to float around on any air draft.

    Most knuckleballers of recent vintage, with the possible exception of Tom Candiotti, have thrown too softly to get away with anything but a knuckler. but there’s no reason why a knuckleball can’t be thrown from a fastball arm angle and velocity. It probably would not break as much as a Niekro knuckler would, but it would still break unpredictably and it would be much slower than the fastball.

  115. Phil Niekro did indeed use his fastball and we learned to be terrified by the very prospect of it. Niekro was crafty–he could use it as a first pitch to get ahead in the count; but if he threw it 2-0 or 3-0, it would make you wince. Niekro’s fastball just didn’t have any movement on it.

    The knuckler might be regarded as part of the change-up family, but it was the movement on Niekro’s ball which was so memorable.

    Sluggers who tried to crush the pitch were the most fun to watch–Willie Stargell comes to mind….

  116. From DOB

    “Get this: Perez is 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 10 starts against the Braves since the beginning of the 2006 season.

    Against everyone else in that period, he’s 23-28 with a 4.70 ERA in 75 starts.”

    So if we sign Perez, we basically eliminate all his good games. Unless you think pitching in Atlanta might make him have those good games he would have had on the road against us.

  117. And yes, I believe Smoltz’s was a knuckle curve. I still remember the first time I saw him throw it. We were playing the Mets and Robin Ventura was batting. Smoltz threw it and Ventura looked at it go by in bewilderment. He then stepped out of the box, leaning on his bat bemusedly, and looked back at Eddie Perez. You could then very clearly read his lips as he asked Eddie, “What in the hell was that?”

  118. I saw that earlier today Dix. I’ve good friend who’s a Mets fan who long ago warned me off thinking Ollie was anywhere NEAR as good as he is when he pitches against us. Apparently he does also pitch well a few other places, but is sort of like Kyle Davies in that he has one great game followed by a bad game or two and you never know which guy is going to show up to pitch.

  119. I saw that bit about Ollie Perez. I think his story is simple: He dominates the Braves & Yankees and kinda sucks against everyone else.

  120. Looking at splits from last year it looks like he owned the Braves (3.7ERA in 3 starts), Phils (0.35ERA in 4 starts), Fish (2.2ERA in 6 starts), Yanks (1.84 in two starts), but was absolutely terrible against the the Nats (8+ ERA in 3 starts) (edit: and not so hot against most everybody else). In 07 it was just us and the Yanks he owned. Not sure if that’s a sign he’s figured anything out, because he wasn’t as good overall in 08 as he was in 07.

    For me, brass tacks are that he, like most Boras clients, has potential, but isn’t worth what Boras wants for him.

  121. Let me preface this by saying that I’m really not interested in acquiring Perez at all, so don’t get me wrong. But he’s not going to get what Boras wants for him, because there isn’t anyone stupid enough to offer him a four-year, $70 million contract (at least, I certainly hope there isn’t). So he’s almost certainly gonna have to settle for three years at a far more reasonable price. I could see him signing for something like Furcal signed for. So the point is that the question isn’t whether he’s worth what Boras will ask for him, because the answer to that is hysterical laughter. The question is will he be worth what the market winds up offering him.

  122. Stu, do we have a stat on OTHER starters who pitched in the 8th and 9th in those years? almost nobody pitches that late anymore do they? (aside from Halladay)

  123. Going back to the knuckecurve, I believe I remember reading that the pitch is one of Cole Rohrbough’s best weapons. Has anybody seen him throw it?

  124. Other examples:

    Sabathia – 38 2/3
    Webb – 23 1/3
    Santana – 16 1/3
    Hudson – 15 1/3
    Zambrano 13

    Peavy actually stacks up better than I would have thought.

  125. Fair enough Stu… I was hoping for some place that measured that easier than counting up innings (which admittedly I was in danger of doing… thanks for preventing me from wasting more time in stat-land today :D).

    I suspect some of that is that they had Hoffman waiting to close things out and they’ve had a good enough pitching staff to not need to send him out there for the last couple innings. I would be concerned if it was a measure of how few times he made it TO the 7th, but not past the 7th.

  126. Halladay – 43 1/3
    Vazquez – 15
    Maddux – 2

    Maddux pitched 9 innings against the Reds on May 14, 2007 — then gave up 7 ER his next start. Never saw the eighth inning again after that.

    Edit: Interesting that our new “innings eater” has managed all of one more post-7th inning than the fragile Peavy….

  127. OK, the Page2 on ESPN made me laugh. “Will CC wear the most pin stripes on his uniform of any player in history” which is probably less offensive than “just how fat is CC Sabathia?”

  128. Some of the ire settling on the Furcal deal?

    I bet the whole thing is a real non-issue 6 months from now.

  129. Wow is right — are you telling me that we couldn’t have ponied that up for Juan Rivera? I was just on MLBTR, and noticed on the list of free agents Brad Wilkerson’s name. He had a few good years with the Expos/Rangers, but fell off the last few. Anyone know what happened to him, and would he be worth taking a flyer on?

  130. @184

    F-Mart and Flores might make the Braves’ Top 10 if these Mets were a part of our system. Not sure anyone else would.

  131. Mac, the “story” has far too in depth an analysis of how wide the stripes are, how far apart they are, and a bunch of other crap with comparing Sabathia to the historical Yanks. It’s hilarious!

  132. Beckett 14.2 innings after the 7th.

    Hamels 18

    As far as Peavy goes…I count only 5 innings after the 7th over both 2008 and 2007 combined. All were in 2008. In 2007 he never got an out after the 7th inning.

  133. Peavy has averaged 6.5 innings per start over the past 2 seasons, almost exactly the same as Smoltz did from 2006-2007

  134. For those interested in top prospects, John Sickels has put together his list and it makes interesting reading–especially for Braves’ fans:

    Three of the top 9 prospects were originally in the Braves’ system. In addition, Sickels writes that the
    “Rangers have three of the best prospects in baseball” and that almost certainly refers to Feliz and Andrus.

    No need to cry about Furcal….

  135. @189

    Wilkerson hasn’t really contributed much in the stats department since ’04 and ’05. I remember him batting leadoff for the Natspos. Other than those two years, blah and he’s also another lefty.

    His best season was probably 2004, .255/.374/.498 with 32 homers

    Lifetime .247/.350/.440

    Split last season with Seattle and Toronto

  136. DOB says we re-signed Norton to a one-year deal. He’s valuable, but I’d prefer we wait to fill in the role players after we acquire the starters…

  137. True enough–but at least we have something to cheer about–no matter how small it might seem…I am happy that Norton will be a Brave in 2009…

  138. #198
    After he hit that PH HR to beat the Mets this past September, I got a Gleason-esque text message from an old roomie still living in Athens: “NORTON!”

  139. Heard Steve Phillips on The Herd today. What a weasly wuss is he.

    Took the approach that “there is some doubt as to whether there was a verbal agreement given”. Bite me.

    You really think Arn Tellem’s word is as good as John Scheurholz’? Please.

    Couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Anybody got Phillips email address?

  140. back in the 80’s i went to two Ml exhibition games here in Tallahassee. the first one was against the braves on a cold day whem Knucksies stuff wasnt’t working at all so he threw a bunch of fastballs and the Seminloes hit 3 first inning homers off him. a couple years later, when Big George was trying to make amends for stealing our coach( and by paying for ML quality stadium lights) the Yankees came to town. the two things i remember best are standing next to Roger Maris and realizing his crewcut barely came up to my nose, and looking out at the field during warmups and watching Catfish play catch with Yogi. i noticed that he was taking a lot of time gripping the ball. he was throwing a knuckler! after be bounced about six of them off Yogis’ body, Yogi said loud and clearly “the hell with you” and left. i think the next day Catfish pitched 7 perfeft innings against Alabama. i’d love to know if he threw any knuckleballs.

  141. FYI Phil’s 300th win was a complete game shutout in which he threw exactly zero knuckleballs until the last batter of the game:

    I’ve always loved that story. (I linked to page two of the above story, as page one was largely about Roger Clemens….)

  142. Alex,

    I honestly don’t understand why you are so upset about what I said. I just said you were ranting as usual. You have to admit you do a lot of ranting. I wasn’t making an attack on your character; I wasn’t characterizing you as “emotional.” I really am sorry if you took offense but I really don’t think it was nearly as bad as you seem to think.

    And, I think you could count on less than one hand the times I have “attacked” you. I do disagree with you a lot and often respond negatively but I don’t think I am making it personal. If you think I am, I apologize.

  143. Well, we may disagree about a lot of stuff, but I think this board can come to a consensus on the idiocy of Steve Phillips. That guy’s the worst, and one of the top reasons I no longer deem it necessary to pay for cable.

  144. i havent bothered getting upset with any of the talking heads on ESPN since they fired Trev Albert. the guys get paid for their opinions and i dont expect to agree with many of them. i just wish i could get paid for mine.

  145. Norton was great after I stopped paying attention. I look forward to honing my Ralph Kramden impression at the ballpark next year.

  146. anyone think that we should go after Maggs? he can still rake, and would be a short term option. The tigers mentioned needing to cut payroll. He has club options for 2010 and 2011

  147. Rosenthal:

    The Braves kicked around a variety of possibilities to make the Rafael Furcal signing work, and not all involved trading Kelly Johnson or moving him to left field. Under one scenario, the Braves would have traded Casey Kotchman for an outfielder, keeping Furcal at short, moving Yunel Escobar to third base and shifting Chipper Jones to first.

    This greatly saddens the persistent “move Chipper/McCann to first!!!!” crowd.

  148. When Furcal posts 740 OPS next year while missing 50 games, all will be forgotten. In the meantime, I truly hope the Braves add two outfielders–and by that I mean actual, major-league caliber starters who aren’t interchangeable with the rest of our 4th-outfielder outfield–while the getting is good. Because I do think there are still bargains to be had.

  149. Ouch. What’s with that? You’re fiesty tonight. You would think, of all people on this board, you would understand why I’m not at Florida.

  150. I was just giving you a hard time, Rob. Just trying to imagine a scene where you two would meet. Sorry if the light-hearted intent didn’t come through. No feistiness, just trying to amuse myself while my wife and I drive to Louisiana. And just using the word “just” as much as possible.

  151. I know. I love you… sort of. Sorry for not responding to your wall post from a couple weeks ago. It’d just be forced now. Drive safe as you travel to Louisiana.

    On a baseball note, I really think that it’ll be good long term that we didn’t sign Furcal. I think it is pretty likely that he would miss a significant part of those three years, and I think we’ve had enough of guys who can’t stay on the field. Same thing with Burnett. I feel sorry for Wren; no one out there is REALLY worth the money they’ll get.

  152. Dock Ellis, our only avowed psychedelic moundsman, died.

    Was certainly a fave when I was younger, a pretty good pitcher who was very much a product of his times. If you don’t know about him, look him up. They certainly don’t come like him anymore.

    If you’re interested, check out Donald Hall’s “Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball.” Worth a read.

  153. I really think we’re looking at a last place team next year. I mean, Chipper and McCann will probably not perform at the level they did last season, we are replacing the quality starts we got from Hudson and Smoltz with Javy Vasquez. Subtract Mark Texeira and add Kotchman, same lousy outfield production… even if we upgrade the OF somewhere it won’t make up for texeira’s loss. This is looking like a 65 win team to me.

  154. Well, to be a last place team, they would have to be worse than the Nats and that’s not likely.

    By the way, JS is skating on thin ice if he hopes that other teams blacklist Tellem. If they conspired to do that, that would be illegal as hell and would bring on a lawsuit. You can’t do anything you want just because someone’s a douchbag. And the fact is, if Tellem has the players, no one is going to refuse to deal, including the Braves. Agreeing with Alex (see I can), I think JS’s statement was a foolish, emotional response that makes Wren look weak and makes the Braves look ridiculous.

  155. Well, thankfully, it seems like most of the rest of baseball disagrees with you two. And I’m not sure why you think Schuerholz wants or expects other teams to blackball WMG. This is a Braves issue and I’ve seen no indication at all that he or anyone else in the organization has tried to make anything more out of it. Then again, you’ve always got to find something to be overly pessimistic about, Marc.

  156. I dont think Wren or JS brought up other teams in their comments. I would have to think that they could care less what other GM’s do with those agents.

  157. I read all the articles about JS, and I didn’t see anything about him trying to recruit other teams to commit collusion. I think you’re reaching, Marc, and I think it shows that the Braves have integrity and the guts to not get screwed over by other teams’ agents.

    Now, this could either backfire or really pay off, considering Moylan is represented by these guys. You could either see the Braves losing Moylan because they refuse to negotiate with him on an extension or arbitration, or Moylan might fire Tellum to stay in Atlanta. Who knows…

  158. 228–Thanks for calling attention to the death of Dock Ellis…quite a pitcher and with quite a mouth. I could not help but think that his penchant for controversy proved to cost more than he realized. He was a rising star in 1971 and one that seemed to enjoy controversial statements. Yet, that was his peak–he never enjoyed as impressive season as he did in 1971.

    The MLB site did not indicate sickle cell, but I wonder if it was an underlying cause. I remember that he had been active in promoting awareness of the disease.

    I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the Braves get a pitcher of his calibre….

  159. Vernon Wells and Hallady…


    Gotta give up:


    could that work? i’m half-way joking.

  160. Wells has been both healthy and effective once in the last five seasons. His fame exceeds his capabilities.

  161. I read all the articles about JS, and I didn’t see anything about him trying to recruit other teams to commit collusion. I think you’re reaching, Marc, and I think it shows that the Braves have integrity and the guts to not get screwed over by other teams’ agents.

    I agree. I don’t think the Braves would go public in saying they want nothing more to do with any Wasserman clients if they didn’t really mean it. Hopefully they won’t draft any either.

    How long has that image of Jeffy Keane in a Braves cap been there?

  162. I can tell it’s getting close to closing time. I’m trying to talk myself into Milton Bradley.

    Tennessee beat Belmont by two. TWO?

  163. I saw that Belmont score. They’ve had some good teams from time to time there. Has Vandy played them yet?

  164. If we’re seriously in position to battle the Nats for last place, what is it going to take to win the division?

    If we really have that far to go, shouldn’t we be signing short teams deals to trade away at the deadline rather than trading away any of our potential future?

    If it’s that bad, I don’t see how Halladay and Vernon Wells (for example) make the difference.

  165. Why would Adam Dunn sign a 2 year deal? He’s 29 years old and has 6 straight seasons with 40 homers. Teixeira is going to get 8 to 10 years and is about the same age. My guess is Dunn gets at least 4 years probably 5 and maybe even more.

    Baseball References most similar players through age 28 for Adam Dunn:

    1. Darryl Strawberry (920)
    2. Jose Canseco (906)
    3. Harmon Killebrew (902) *
    4. Rocky Colavito (895)
    5. Reggie Jackson (889) *
    6. Troy Glaus (867)
    7. Tom Brunansky (865)
    8. Barry Bonds (861)
    9. Roger Maris (859)
    10. Boog Powell (859)

    I’d sign Dunn to a 4-5 year deal and be happy. After year 5 I think he starts to lose power and thus his value.

  166. He probably will. I wouldn’t give Dunn more than three years, personally, no matter what team I was running. He’s the very definition of “old player’s skills”.

    Most career homers, batting average below .250:

    1 Dave Kingman 442 .236
    2 Darrell Evans 414 .248
    3 Graig Nettles 390 .248
    4 Greg Vaughn 355 .242
    5 Adam Dunn 278 .247
    6 Tom Brunansky 271 .245
    7 Gorman Thomas 268 .225
    8 Jose Valentin 249 .243
    T9 Mickey Tettleton 245 .241
    T9 Deron Johnson 245 .244

    The two third basemen, Evans and Nettles, played forever — actually forever, plus a year with the Braves at their low point — but the others were mostly washed up pretty quickly.

  167. Dunn is one of only seven players who have hit 40 or more homers in a season with a batting average .250 or lower. He’s done it three times, Killebrew did it twice, and nobody else more than once.

  168. The difference between the Braves and the Nats is that the Braves actually have 2 franchise players, a great bullpen, and a great farm system.

    Mac said something a few days ago about focusing more on getting offense, and I think he’s right. Get one more okay starter like Garland and 2 outfield bats.

    Score a lot of runs and turn the game over to the bullpen after the 6th inning.

  169. I thought the whole reason the Braves traded for Boone Logan was to enable them to let Ohman walk…

  170. Awesome. Falkcons still need to win two.

    Honestly, I’d rather see the Comboys in the playoffs than the Bucs.

  171. I wouldn’t… Yeah we need to win two and I am afraid the Denver game will come back to haunt us….

  172. if my panthers win against the giants today…

    then they’re much better than i thought they’d be

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