Javier Vazquez

Javier Vazquez Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

A longtime target of John Schuerholz’s, finally acquired by Frank Wren. I’m more excited by the deal now than I was at the time. Vazquez was incredibly unlucky in 2008. His ERA was elevated due to bad luck and bad defense, and he probably should have had an ERA in the mid-threes, not the mid-fours. His peripherals (walks, strikeouts, homers) were basically the same as in 2007, when he went 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA.

Vazquez was one of the last of the stars produced by the Expos machine when the Expos were playing farm system for the rest of baseball. After a couple of rough years when he first came up, he was terrific from 2000-2003, going 50-45 (they were 251-302 when he didn’t get the decision) with a 3.65 ERA. The Yankees traded three players, including Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera, to get him before the 2004 season.

I think that 2004 shaped Vazquez’s image in the minds of baseball fans. He started off gangbusters and was 10-5 with a 3.56 ERA at the break, making his only All-Star team. But he collapsed in the second half, going 4-5/6.92, and was bounced from the rotation at one point. In the postseason, he made only one start, and did not pitch well in that or in two relief appearances, though he did win Game 3 of the ALCS in relief; he gave up a grand slam homer to Johnny Damon (after Kevin Brown walked the bases loaded) in the second inning of Game 7 that essentially ended the series.

Since the whole thing was obviously his fault, the Yankees traded him to the D-Backs with two other players for Randy Johnson. Arizona was a bad fit for Vazquez, whose primary problem throughout his career has been home runs. He did not pitch that badly, actually; his ERA of 4.42 was just about the average in that park, but he gave up 35 homers, the second-most in the league, the most in the non-Eric Milton division. Traded to the White Sox (for three players, including Chris Young), he was basically average again in 2006. As I mentioned above, he was pretty great in 2007, and pretty unlucky in 2008.

Vazquez is a strikeout pitcher, ninth among active players; he has never led the league, but has finished in the top ten eight times, including fourth the last three years in a row. He is also a workhorse, who has thrown more than 200 innings eight of the last nine years. Both of these were desperately needed on a team of finesse pitchers who rarely saw the seventh inning. JC rates Vazquez as the seventh-most-valuable pitcher in baseball over the last three seasons; ahead of him are Webb, Sabathia, Halladay, Santana, Haren, and Oswalt.

Vazquez’s biggest problem has been home runs; I wish Leo, who did a great job teaching his pitchers how to avoid homers, had gotten a chance to work with him. Most home runs allowed, Vazquez’s career (1998-2008)

HOMERUNS HR
1 Javier Vazquez 300
2 Livan Hernandez 291
3 Jamie Moyer 289
4 Jeff Suppan 276
5 Eric Milton 265
6 Tim Wakefield 261
7 Woody Williams 257
8 Randy Johnson 246
9 Curt Schilling 242
10 Steve Trachsel 238

346 thoughts on “Javier Vazquez”

  1. Speaking of you, JC, I got your book for Christmas and look forward to finally getting around to reading it … after my prelim exams in a couple of weeks.

    Vazquez can only help the rotation. I think he was a good add and I’m not too worried about the cost in players it took to get him.

  2. good trade for this guy. Flowers was the only piece I didnt really want to lose, but he’s blocked here

  3. From the previous thread, I think the Kotsay trade was a good one considering the need and the time.

    Throwing in Jamie Richmond was overpaying though. There is a chance that Richmond could amount to something, albeit not too great, but our first round draft from two years prior should have been enough to coax the A’s into allowing us to save them $2M.

  4. Sorry, cannot edit as I am on my Blackberry.

    I meant to also say that I like the acquisition of Vazquez. Giving up Flowers for him makes me wish we actually had him for more than two years. I fear his 2009 will be wasted as far as penant races and World Series contention.

    Also, I would not mind bringing in Andruw and taking on his whole salary if we got a quality middle infield or third base prospect coming the other way. Has the ship sailed on Andy LaRoche? I would not give up much for him as it would save LA $18M and a roster spot. We would essentially be taking a long shot bet which could have a big payoff, but would more likely doom us to 4th place.

  5. I’ve long been in favor of re-acquiring Andruw if LA throws something tasty in. Originally, I said I’d take Andruw back at full price if the Dogs threw Kemp in. I admit, that’s unrealistic, but I’d still do the deal if they threw in some quality talent.

    Andruw at one year is money better spent than throwing 5 years at AJ Burnett, even if he can’t hit his weight.

  6. Fun fact from the topics in the previous thread….last season the Hawks AND Falcons made the playoffs when the Braves missed – 1982. Strange times indeed.

  7. From the previous thread, I think the Kotsay trade was a good one considering the need and the time

    Gee, we got to give up a cost controlled live arm AND A PROSPECT for the right to pay $2M for 300PA’s of .289/.340/.418?

    Shades of Branch Rickey, that was a steal!

    Sorry, but that was the most projectably piss poor trade ever – then, now, and in the future. An utter swindling of a GM who apparently gets his player development info from ESPN: The Magazine! While I don’t think the Furcal and Peavey trades were his (or even a) fault, whatever question Frank Wren is the answer to doesn’t involve a “How do the Braves return to greatness?” clause.

  8. As much as I hate to say it, I think Andruw would no longer be an asset. His decline has been steep as it has been dramatic. His 2008 followed 2007–but in a hitter’s park.

    I wish it weren’t so….

  9. Jason-

    I’d pay Andruw’s salary for LAST YEAR, too, if we got Kemp coming over with Andruw.

    I’m not very optimistic about Andruw. He can still go get it in the OF, but unless he completely reworks his swing, he just won’t be playable. The downside is, of course, that Bobby will be tempted to fill out lineup cards with Andruw batting 4th and Frenchy 5th when we’re facing a lefty out there.

    And that money would be much better spent on Lowe.

  10. Tough call. Andruw’s got defensive prowess on his side, making the offensive bar much lower (.250/.330/.420 would be very good production from an above-average CF, although no one would think so because it’d be ex-Super Star Andruw Jones hitting .250 without 40 HRs), but Frenchy’s got age on his side, and seemingly a marginal improvement in his pitch recognition could dramatically improve his game.

    While I regard both of these things as unlikely, I went with Andruw. :-/

  11. I found JC’s rating interesting in that of the seven pitchers he rated ahead of Vazquez, none of them are named Peavey.

  12. I voted Andruw because at least there is a track record of very-goodness. And he’s only 31, so a rebound isn’t too hard to fathom.

    To be totally honest, I think he’s actually 35 and completely toast. If he were 35, his age curve would look totally normal. He hits the majors at 23 (not 19), has a pretty good 10 year run, and ages like other centerfielders who play every freaking game.

    That said, I have more faith in old and busted Andruw providing positive value than I do Frenchy, who may be young, but never was any good.

  13. Oh, and I only want Andruw back if the trade is a total salary dump by the Dogs and they throw in something valuable to make it worth our while. Something like Andruw+Kemp (I wish) for Gregor Blanco.

  14. @14

    I agree with your assessment. Probably go with Jeffy though. Simply because all the tools underneath the neck are still there. AJ seems to have gone the way of Dale Murphy, Greg Vaughn, and Raul Mondesi.

    Mac, no word of congratulations for your ” rel=”nofollow”>favorite QB winning his third MVP today?

  15. WOW! To my surprise, Tim Wakefield is named 6th. He is the knuckle baller of the RedSox, Right? I’ve thought his ball is quite dificult to hit.

    By the way, Javier Vazquez became a brave? Blame me for being indifferent.

  16. From last thread. Yeah Vandy winning one the Rays and the Phils are very Nostradomus like signs that we’re going to be on the receiving end of an asteroid strike soon. But had USC (that is the University of South Carolina to us folks from the South) won its bowl game this year I would be ducking for cover. That would have been a SURE sign of the apocalypse.

    I really like the Vasquez trade. Flowers was at his highest value (so far) and Wren leveraged it nicely. Really the Sox look pretty good to in this one especially if Lillibridge can turn it around and contribute this year.

    From last thread. Yeah I know that DeRosa didn’t fit this team as most of his value is as an infielder but I always thought the Braves gave up on him a little too early.

  17. This Ole Miss/Texas Tech game is pretty damn entertaining. Ha! Shepard Smith with his mic malfunctioning, just perfect.

    Re: Frenchy/Andruw
    Almost too depressing to process. I went with Andruw for no good reason. I know that his suckitude has been off the charts, but I don’t have to watch him every day.

    Re: Vasquez
    There’s a lot to be said for showing up to work every day. Innings, gotta have ’em, especially this team. Looks like a good move. Let’s make another.

    Re: Johnny Damon’s GSHR
    I was at Game 7 of the ’04 ALCS with 2 big Yankee fan co-workers. One had gone to get beers & the other was trying to talk his way through the precarious moment—Kevin Brown spitting the bit & the burnt-toast that was late-season Vasquez coming into the game.

    “Y’know, if we can just get out of this mess,” he says, “we’ve hit Lowe in the past and….”

    Blam!

    “That…” I say, “is a grand slam.”

    My section gets quiet as a funeral home, people sharing wordless glances of impending doom. But you can hear specks of cheers around the stadium, Sawx fans hooting.

    In an instant, it becomes apparent that this is going to be something new—it’s the beginning of a very slow Pinstriped bloodletting. A baseball moment I’ll never forget.

  18. Wow, Ole Miss is rolling. However, Pat Sumerall is very boring. For the people on this bored that are older than me, was he ever really energetic? I know he’s had health problems and is much older.

  19. I kinda like a play-by-play guy who doesn’t get in the way of the game.

    And yes, there was a time when Sumerall & Madden was the #1 NFL announcer team.

    Leach got a break & he gave it back. He’s gonna lose the game over that one.

  20. He probably is boring — but I was so pleasantly surprised to turn on the TV and hear his voice that it doesn’t bother me.

  21. Leach got a break & he gave it back. He’s gonna lose the game over that one.

    You can say that again (fumble, then safety)

    BTW, I thought the refs missed an offside call on the fumble play…

  22. I really like what Sumerall says and the amount of speaking he does. I was just surprised at how little emotion he brings to play-by-play. Ole Miss is returning a pick for a TD, and you wouldn’t have known by the play-by-play. I remember listening to him do the NFL and I was pleasently surprised to see him doing this game, but I don’t remember him being that… magoo.

  23. Magoo… heh, yeah that’s about right.

    Fun game, though. Here’s to another one in just a bit.

  24. Come on Kentucky! Step it up!

    Man, I’m jacked up about the Alabama game. I get off at 10, so I’ll be able to catch the second half. I’m staying with a friend, and he doesn’t have cable, so I bought an antenna to use. I’m not missing the bowls! The only problem is that Fox doesn’t come in very well, but I get ABC and CBS just fine. Oh, and this weird Spanish channel that teetering on being some really weird porn…

  25. By the second half of the Bama game you might wanna check the porn. No, I’m not giving Utah a chance. Yeah, I said it. (Maybe that’s the Malbec talking.)

    And if you can’t get regular reception & your pal has hi-speed, check http://www.channelsurfing.net. Always a good backup.

    url,
    Saw your old pal Will Johnson the other night onstage at MSG, singing harmony on a really pretty song with My Morning Jacket (“Golden” from “It Still Moves.”) As you might imagine, it sounded great.

    Killer show, BTW. They went on at 9:30 and played until 1 am, with a short 20-minute break around 11:25. Lotsa covers, everything from Curtis Mayfield and Kool & the Gang to, ahem, “Island in the Stream.”

    C’mon Kentucky.

  26. That’s 2 missed PATs for UK.

    But…how can they mess up 2 replay calls in a row?

    I hope the refs don’t blow any more calls, but I’ll not hold my breath.

    Alright, at least they got that one right. C’mon Cats, win an ugly one.

  27. This is getting crazy.

    What is Utah, about 5/5 on 3rd down conversions? Gotta stop ’em at some point.

    Dunno if they can do it without a left side of their O-line, but Bama has to establish some kind of running game, not freak out & get a sustained drive.

  28. I didn’t see this one coming. Utah should have lost to Michigan….. How good could they be?

  29. Spike, I have to defend my call on the Kotsay trade. The Braves absolutely had a shot at the World Series at the beginning of last season, but they did have a hole in CF. We traded what we had in excess for what we did not have.

    The future value absolutely favored the A’s, but it was one of those “final piece” deals. I personally was not happy with the trade and there is no way we should have had to throw in another arm, but the move made sense.

  30. I agree with Parish. We felt at the beginning of the season like we could compete, and there really weren’t a whole lot of available CFs with favorable contracts. We can say we wouldn’t have given up that much talent, but we don’t know how Wren negotiated, and the price was what the price was.

  31. but they did have a hole in CF

    I concede the point, but they had the same hole after the trade as well – that’s what bothered me. Trading for a CF? Fine. Overpaying for a mediocrity? Not so good. Josh Anderson did everything Kotsay did for 1/10 the price and no cost in players. I can live with rebuilding – that’s apart of baseball. Frittering away money and players on has-beens to convince yourself you’re “doing something” is the worst sin a GM can commit.

  32. #54

    It’s not gloating. Just saying that maybe you shouldn’t assume that just because your in the SEC doesn’t mean you’re better than everyone

  33. Spike – Anderson did cost us Villareal, but I certainly understand your point. Admittedly, his presence along with Blanco is why I did not like the trade at the time. The problem is that we did not really know what we would get in the Major Leagues with Anderson or Blanco.

  34. What is the Mountain West’s record in bowl games this year? How about last year?

    Not that the system has any credibility anyway, but I am certainly wondering whether the BCS automatic bids should come from the same conferences every year.

  35. So far, this one’s a little bit like that Boise/OU game a few years ago: Underdog goes way ahead early, favored team makes a comeback.

    Maybe we get a thrilling finish.

  36. Bama didn’t get a lotta pressure on that drive, but they did throughout the 2nd quarter & the beginning of the 3rd when they forced that turnover. And, no, they didn’t tackle worth a damn.

    Also, Bama’s O-line is in shambles tonight.

    And now Coffee’s hurt, it seems.

    Go for it here? I think so.

  37. At the end of the day, Devine never looked like he would get given a shot in Atlanta.

    In a hypothetical world where we didn’t send him up and down 10 times a season then it was a very bad trade, but that wasn’t the case.

    I also think that the numbers he put up last year would far outstrip anything he could have done with Atlanta. Getting away from the place where you started your career giving up 2 grand slams and a season ending home run would help a great deal.

  38. Nick –

    I completely agree. My issue is not that we traded Devine but rather who he was traded for.

  39. I don’t think Wilson has what it takes to lead Bama in a comeback late. I think they are going to have to get lucky with a big play or two to win this one.

  40. If they can’t block ’em, they can’t score 11 points.

    As bad as the defense has been, they can’t protect JPW & they can’t run left, which has been the secret to their success all year long.

    And that’s…probably the ballgame there.

  41. Line depth. It’s not just that Smith is our best player, it’s that we really don’t have any other tackles. Moving Johnson to left tackle was a mistake, because he just isn’t a tackle, as he proved last year when he couldn’t block on the right side. So instead of just weakening LT, they weakened LG as well. Saban didn’t want to give a freshman his first start in a bowl game, but Boswell wound up playing most of the game anyway because of Johnson’s injury. And next year’s LT is probably not even on the team yet.

  42. Utah will end the year undefeated. If Texas wins, I think you will have four teams that have a legitimate argument for the MNC.

  43. I think this destroys the “Plus 1” system for deciding a champion that Herbstreit has been championing. You need a playoff and I think it has to be 8 teams.

  44. Means nothing. Utah won—good for them. But the same Bama team wasn’t out there for both contests, so one game has very little to do with the other. Can’t compare ’em.

  45. It means Utah is undefeated. I can’t wait to see them play in the next round. Oh wait…

    Herbstreit is an idiot. Anyone who can defend this system, or anything approximating this system, or anything that isn’t a playoff, lacks the intellectual capacity to babysit my cat, let alone be considered an expert on college football.

  46. As one of the 12 people who regularly watches The Mtn (TM), I can say that I think Utah, and TCU for that matter, are two legit top 10 teams this year. This Utah team is leaps and bounds better than the Alex Smith/Urban Meyer led Utes from the last time they went undefeated, in my opinion.

    Mac, as a Bama fan, there’s no way you can really be that upset with this year, is there ?

  47. Entertaining game to watch for having little invested (I like that the MWC did well, but felt dirty cheering for Utah).

  48. I am glad that I did not see the Sugar Bowl…Anyway, at least Ole Miss and Kentucky salvaged the day for the SEC….

    I don’t think Utah would beat either Florida or Oklahoma…

  49. Stephen, did you think they could beat Bama? I didn’t, or at least, I didn’t think they would.

    It’s just too bad, and frankly quite unbelievable, that we will never know.

  50. I like the Vasquez signing. He is a strike out pitcher, other than Smoltz, we havent had one in a long time.

    I think John Parker Wilson and Tiffin had money on the game.

  51. Parish–I should probably clarify matters by saying that “on any given day” just about anybody can beat anybody. My earlier remark assumed (without stating it) that they would be playing for the national championship and then I would stand by it.

    Bowl games sometimes are deceptive–because you get some teams which are incredibly happy to be there (like Vandy and probably Utah) and others that resent the fact that they are playing for lesser stakes than they would like. As a result, in any given bowl game lots of things are possible–no matter how unlikely: including victories by Big Ten teams…

  52. Don’t worry about what Simmons says. The Falcons are going to roll the Cardinals. The Cardinals suck.

    I think Indy and Baltimore both win too. In the last game I’m torn…but I’m going with Minnesota because at least one of the home teams will probably win.

  53. So, with it looking like Andruw will be bought out, any chance we can get him for near the minimum?

  54. If we can get Andruw it should be on the kind of contract which they offered Javy Lopez last year. It can’t hurt to take a look, but after his last two seasons, I am not holding out much hope even if he breaks Spring Training with the Braves….

  55. 96,

    We already have a stubborn outfielder who swings at everything and infuriates the fans.

  56. At least the one we already have hit well above the Mendoza line; the one in Dodger blue batted .157 last year….

  57. If you could get Jones for a low price or so following a buyout, every team in the league would line up to take a flyer on him, or should. He’s not that far removed from being an extremely valuable player, so long as one (and this is the tricky part)had the good sense to quit giving him AB’s if (when) it doesn’t pan out.

  58. Dunno if any of you guys get the new MLB Network, but they’re now showing the original kinescope broadcast of Don Larsen’s perfect game, complete with between-innings talk with Larsen & Yogi Berri conducted by Bob Costas. Purty cool.

  59. Apparently we might get Andruw back. Either us or the Reds. Do we want Andruw back? He was always my favorite Brave, well, Smotlz and Hammering Hank, but I think if we sent him to the minors to build up some confidence he might be good again. He’s not that old. Opinions?

  60. With the way this year is going to go – I’m all for taking a flier on him. No way we can compete with the way we are currently constructed, so what the hell. And if he pans out, I’m sure we can get him at a reduced rate for the coming years (doubt that would EVER happen – him actually playing good again). But I say that only if you want to give Schafer more time in the minors. If he looks ready come spring training, make Druw compete for a spot with
    Frenchy. HA – now that would be hillarious.

  61. With Andruw and Frenchy in the same lineup… which would hit 8th? And would the pitcher hit 7th?

  62. I kid. Sort of. Depends on the price, I guess. He sure hasn’t shown much reason in the past couple of years to want to take him on, though.

  63. Who do we trade? Surely theres some utility player that plays in in Rome we don’t need.

  64. Didn’t see the ‘Bama game, but wow, that was a shocker. I guess between not having their best lineman and ending up against Utah rather than in the national championship, Alabama got caught with their pants down. Shame, too, ’cause after Kentucky won, I thought the SEC had a good chance at going 6-2. :-/

  65. trade francoeur for an arm (i’ve given up on greinke so anything that can be productive and cheap) and put andruw in right. then sign abreu, lowe, and smoltz. why cant it be that simple?
    smoltz-7 mil
    abreu- 13-14 mil
    lowe- 13-14 mil
    andruw- 5 mil

    then, your only left with 2 question marks, but with the decent backups to fill their roles if they suck, or die. even a terrible andruw is better than francoeur.

    lineup:
    escobar
    kj
    chip
    abreu
    mccann
    kotchman
    andruw
    schafer

    rotation
    lowe
    vazquez
    smoltz
    jurrjens
    campillo/hanson/trade acquisition

    pen
    gonzalez
    soriano
    loogy (logan/o’flaherty)
    boyer
    bennett/carlyle
    moylan
    acosta/trade acquisition

    bench
    ross
    blanco
    diaz
    norton
    infante/prado

    *prado, francoeur, and campillo would be a great trade package for a decent #2-3 starter. prado and campillo would be selling high and francoeur is marketable.

  66. If the Braves did a vulture and waited for LA to discard Andruw’s rotting carcass then yeah pick him up. Or maybe they could negotiate a deferral of his deferral.

    Good Lord what a mess the outfield is. That bothers me more than the pitching staff. Of course once we start playing it might start bothering me way more.

  67. btw, if greg norton would have been our full-time right fielder last year, he would have put up 21 hr and 105 rbis. and he only costs us 900,000 this year.

  68. Wait till the Dodgers release Andruw, sign him dirt cheap and make him Gregor Blanco’s platoon partner.

  69. Looks like a long day in the desert. If the offense doesn’t keep the defense off the field, the Falcons remarkably large holes will be exposed.

  70. mraver,
    With a Florida win, the SEC can still go 6-2. (Last year, it was 7-2.)

    W: Vandy, LSU, UGA, Ole Miss, UK
    L: USC, Bama

    C’mon Falcons. Let’s get some points.

  71. #123

    If my Sooners show up… well.. you’ve seen the numbers we’ve put up. But, theres the numbers we’ve let in. :(

  72. Is Frank Wren actually going to do anything? Or is he already waving a white flag on 2009?

  73. @ 135 – DOB said today on his blog the Braves have actually been quite active this past week, and goes as far to speculate the coming week or so could be big for the Braves. His words were “calls have been made, believe me.”

  74. Great season for the Falcons, but a tough way to end. Losing to Arizona in the NFL playoffs is like losing to the Cubs in the NLDS.

  75. don’t know if it’s been mentioned ..

    the official site says the Braves will enter the season without an ace. so Wren’s done rosterbating?

  76. A young VU squad that’s playing pretty well right now heads to Lexington in a week, hank. You gonna be there?

  77. Yeah – The Dores hoops squad is looking pretty good. They are young and should get better over the next two years.

    I was wondering how they would do up at UMass. I guess the answer is “pretty good.”

  78. Too bad for the Falcons, I had a feeling that the Falcons’ defense will not be good enough to stop Arizona…too bad it ends up being true.

    Anyway, great season by the Falcons. Hope we will see even greater improvement next season like the Hawks are showing right now…and let’s hope they do something on defense…

  79. It is starting to feel like the 35+ million doesn’t fully exist, and that Liberty Media secretly cut payroll and isn’t saying anything for PR reasons. Why else is there no interest in Lowe, Sheets, Burrell, Ramirez, Dunn….?

    As for Andruw Jones, no. Why? Even if he is free he is terrible now and Cox will play him everyday. It reminds me of the people who wanted to offer him arbitration and bring him back for 2008. The Braves should be done with Andruw Jones.

  80. I’d go 3/$16M or 4/$14M for Lowe. If Wren signs Lowe and picks up Andruw for free, I call the off-season a success.

  81. Dan–I have wondered about that as well–but if we could go after Burnett and were prepared to pay Peavy, we should at least be able to go after Sheets….

    why do people want to give Andruw 5 million? Last season he was nowhere nearly as good as Blanco, Josh Anderson or everybody’s favourite RF….

  82. #148, we wouldn’t be giving him $5m, we’d be giving him $400k.

    No way the Dodgers will be able to trade him when they’ve basically admitted that they’ll release him before the season starts.

  83. I would love to see the Braves spend the money on an extra DSL Team (since we have only one) if that were possible….

  84. I say Wren is working on something big and will surprise everyone…don’t know if it’s a good or bad surprise though…

  85. Andruw cheap? Why not?

    Birdman is under the gun to save face, so whatever happens will be a big surprise. Yay, fun!

    @36, Will has one of those voices where his frequency response fills out all the voids in others voices. What a treat.

    edit: kc, I obviously concur.

  86. Oh, Peyton Manning and the Colts ended their season the same day as the Falcons! That’s an achievement!

  87. I’ve read at least a couple of guys who thought that the Colts were the best team going into the playoffs. If that’s the case, the best team lost and the worst team won. Go figure.

    Thanks for the great year, Falcons. I really didn’t expect much and you made a believer out of me. Hopefully next year will be even better.

  88. The two games yesterday would have been a lot different had the teams that won 2 and 4 games respectively more than their opponents had home field advantage.

  89. Hey Wren, My urging to do SOMETHING doesn’t include a 250 lb. out of shape guy who can’t hit half his weight.

  90. NickC,

    That may be true, but I think division winners ought to have home field advantage. Is it weird? A little, but I don’t think it needs to be “fixed.”

  91. Chief…

    seeing that everyone has said that Andruw is now at 220 in the winter league, i suppose you’re talking about Michael Jordan.

  92. Of course there are deals that are bad, but you can’t be paralyzed to make a move because you are afraid it “might” be a risk.. Hell all moves are a risk.

    Here’s the bottom line. Our team stinks. If we have the same(basically) team next year it will stink again. We need to replace stinky players with better players and any opportunity to do so should be taken advantage of.

    It’s not rocket surgery.

  93. Rocket surgery… I like it.

    I don’t think there’s anyone on here that doesn’t want to make any moves. You seem to think if a few people object to a move, then the whole board is against it.

    Just saying…

  94. Pass on Andruw. His commitment to this sport is laughable and sad. He deserves to be dropped like an ugly baby.

  95. I say make a 2 year offer to Sheets, incentive loaded, with a 3rd year option. He’s the most talented pitcher out there, with the biggest upside.
    If he doesn’t come back until July-August so be it. He’ll be there with Hudson in 2010. The point is build a staff for the long term.

  96. Billy-Jay,

    I do read the board and there are a large number of people on here that wouldn’t trade a bucket of catfish for Babe Ruth in his prime because they were young and had potential to grow.

    Any trade or FA signing is pooh poohed to the point of ridiculousness. We are far far far behind our competition and there is not anything to look forward to with this roster as its currently constituted.

  97. I’m ready to take a flyer on Andruw. He’ll cost next to nothing to acquire, evidently. Maybe we can hook him up with the flexibility trainer (I’m possibly being naive) that extended Javy’s career as a productive hitter.

  98. Taken from mlbtraderumors.com:
    The Braves were so close to completing a trade a for Jake Peavy in November that they may want to revisit talks. Says Olney, “What they could do, if they are intent on contending in 2009, would be to sign Orlando Cabrera as a stop-gap at shortstop for 2009, and then deal [Yunel] Escobar in the package for Peavy.” He also suggests the Braves give up on their refusal to give Peavy a no-trade provision for the entire length of his contract as that’s been a sticking point. Landing Peavy under any circumstances is a move their own players would support, even if he was given special treatment.

  99. hankonly,

    Then lets just pay league minimum to a bunch of AAAA players and continue to suck, then. Deal?

  100. Lowe at $16M per for 3 years is a GOOD deal. Way better than any deal for Burnett would have been. When you’ve got an above-average defensive infield, like the Braves do, Lowe is a good guy to have. Maybe ask for a team-option 4th year as well. Or make it a vesting option or something. If we go out of the off-season having added two 200-IP pitchers, it will have been very impressive by Wren, IMO. Especially if he does this while not making any financial commitment beyond 2011.

    Sign Lowe, pick up Andruw for free on the off-chance he does anything, and sign Smoltz. If we’re contending come mid-season, deal for a corner OF. Easy.

  101. What was Brad Childress thinking turning down that holding penalty? Eagles were 3rd and 8 on the Vikings 26 and threw an incomplete pass, and were caught holding. Instead of taking the ten yards, he declined the penalty and Akers kicks a 43-yard FG. Huh???

  102. As a Panthers fan, I hope the Eagles win. The prospect of playing Minnesota and their hot offense doesn’t excite me. I’d rather play Arizona.

  103. I’d rather play Minnesota. Arizona has a scary passing attack.

    Although it’s tough to run on the Vikings, Peterson is a fumble machine & their QB doesn’t impress.

  104. Their QB was on fire to end the season, man. That and the Peterson factor makes me wary of them.

    Arizona wouldn’t have made the playoffs if they weren’t out west.

  105. Arizona has a much, much better offense—nobody has their kind of receivers & the QB comparison isn’t worth discussing.

    But lucky for Carolina, that offense doesn’t travel so well.

  106. The IBB thing is interesting. I am not surprised that Cox looks bad in his use of the strategy.

    He’s another reason I do not think we will compete in ’09, and I used to be firmly in his camp. We simply do not have the margin of error to give back wins with on field strategy, no matter who plays lf.

  107. I think Minnesota’s defense was better than Arizona’s too. (I left that thought out in my previous comment.)

  108. *gasp* A whole win a SEASON, my goodness, we’ve got to get rid of him.

    Please. If you are going to make the argument that Cox needs to go, don’t use that as supporting evidence. That’s the largest mountain made out of a molehill I’ve ever seen.

  109. @188:

    Since 1994, a division race has been decided by one or fewer games (including ties in which both teams made the playoffs) 17 times; nine in the NL, eight in the AL.

    The wild-card race has been decided by the same margin eight times; seven in the NL, once in the AL.

    I agree that Bobby’s propensity for the ill-advised intentional walk is hardly grounds for firing, but it’s certainly not insignificant. Put it this way, the intentional walks cost, on average, roughly one win per season; Francoeur’s disastrous 2008 season cost 1.6 wins (per FanGraphs).

  110. But if a closer only blew one win in an entire year, we’d all be thrilled, right? And this is coming from a position that is only relevant in a certain number of games a year, meaning if he costs us a game, it should be even more devastating, right? I don’t know, it makes sense in my head.

    I would say the Braves are far off from a game or two deciding a season, it’s more like 15 games.

  111. Thanks Ethan–That is a very interesting article and I hope Bobby reads it….

  112. #177

    Minnesota needed to score twice regardless and allowing the Eagles to run another 40 seconds off the clock would’ve basically completely fucked them AND have no guarantee that the Eagles still wouldn’t have made a field goal.

  113. #192

    I wrote that about Akers’ first field goal, in the middle of the first quarter when it was still a scoreless game. I just don’t see not pushing them back from the 26-yard-line to the 36.

  114. I don’t need any stats to tell me that Bobby is a poor in-game strategy manager. I watch the man managed since 1991 and that opinion has never changed. That has never been one of his strengths, but that is also NOT the only aspect to judge a manager’s overall skill.

  115. Anyway, I really came in here to say that I was randomly browsing baseball reference tonight and noticed that Chipper is sponsoring is page on there. I thought that was pretty cool of him.

  116. Bethany–I could not agree with you more; I really hope that Wren and others understand that we need to rebuilding for the long term and don’t squander prospects to become a bit more competitive in 2009….

  117. kc – if that wasn’t in Wren’s plan he would’ve acquired a pitcher such as Peavy or Greinke by now. I think it’s pretty clear that Wren wants to compete in 09 without compromising the farm system.

  118. per mlbtr…

    The Rangers have received inquiries on Vicente Padilla (Braves) and Michael Young.

    Im guessing that there is nothing to this since he’s owed $12m for next year and a $12 mil club option the next. Why not just pay Lowe $2 mil more. Padilla sucks

  119. Even though paying Lowe 16 million strikes me as outrageous, he certainly beats Padilla…

    Happily, I had forgotten about Albie Lopez….

  120. Albie Lopez: The single greatest indicator of just how badly Braves fans were spoiled by the ’90s, IMO. You’re talking about a guy who was our fifth starter and posted an ERA+ of 95.

  121. To be fair to the fans, Albie had an ERA over 7 as a starter (4 starts) and under 3 as a mopup guy (26 relief appearances, the last 24 of which resulted in neither a win, loss, save, nor hold).

  122. Several times? You’re a glutton for punishment, Stu. I hope you take some time out to look at Ted Williams. ;)

    Speaking of stat lines with curative powers, here’s a trivia question. Name the player who:

    1) Played for 13 years, with enough PAs to qualify for the batting title in each season
    2) Received MVP votes in his first and final seasons
    3) Never finished with less than a 125 OPS+
    4) Scored AND drove in between 91 and 121 runs each of the first nine seasons of his career
    5) Walked between 78 and 99 times 9 of his first 10 seasons
    6) Is not in the Hall of Fame

  123. Uh, this Andruw-to-the-Braves talk isn’t real, is it?

    Bobby would trot this out:

    Escobar
    Prado
    Chipper
    Andruw
    Francouer
    McCann
    KJ (if he wasn’t benched for some inexplicable reason)
    Kotchman
    Vazquez

    Now, that will strike fear in the Phillies’ hearts on Opening Day!

  124. 100% correct!

    Talk about a victim of circumstance. Johnson played for the Philly A’s in the 1930s, who were uniformly awful — some years it was basically him and Wally Moses and a bunch of scrubs. Only once in his A’s tenure did the team pitching staff reach 90 ERA+. Then he kicked around during the war years.

    But talk about a nice, clean stat line:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/johnsbo01.shtml

  125. Andruw’s return to the Braves is actually a depressing prospect–because I fear that he is washed up. In fact, his numbers remind of Nate Colbert who was a solid slugger and an All Star in 3 consecutive seasons, but then took a nosedive–missing pitches at the end by feet not inches.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/colbena01.shtml

    If Andruw comes back, I hope that it is not a final embarrassment…

  126. If Andruw is released by the Dodgers, they are still paying him. He could play for us for a bag of doughnuts (and probably would).

  127. Bethany – Wow, you really misread my post.

    I did not say IBBs would be a reason we will not compete in ’09; I said Bobby Cox would be.

    Knowing when to intentionally walk someone is like knowing when to take a hit in Blackjack. There are some obvious situations and some nebulous areas. The article says that Bobby goes against the odds in the obvious situations more than any other manager.

    This is just an example of the in game moves that left so many of us scratching our heads (or screaming at our televisions) over the last few years. I really do not think he has always been this bad, though he has never excelled at in game strategy.

    Other instances where I think Cox is costing us a game or two include:

    His (mis)management of the bullpen.
    Overuse of the sac bunt.
    The occassional idiotic lineup.
    Overexposure of players that are struggling (Francoeur, Corky Miller, Andruw)
    Picking the wrong bats off the bench.

    Did I leave anything obvious out?

    What’s more, I think his presence is hurting our ability to attract players. I still think guys want to play for him, but everyone expects him to retire next year. They would have no idea who they would be playing for in ’10 or ’11.

  128. Did I leave anything obvious out?

    While I hate to pile on Bobby, carrying three catchers on postseason rosters never made sense.

    What’s more, I think his presence is hurting our ability to attract players. I still think guys want to play for him, but everyone expects him to retire next year. They would have no idea who they would be playing for in ‘10 or ‘11.

    I agree that this is a huge problem.

  129. Parish, you could be right. I am not sure if a clean slate would make Atlanta more attractive or not, but if I had to choose between coming to a team that is struggling with Cox as manager and one with say… Pendleton, I’m choosing Cox.

    I think this team has many more issues to deal with before we can really justify getting rid of him.

  130. The moment Cox brought in Charlie Liebrandt to face Kirby Puckett I knew Bobby’s in-game ham-handedness could only be topped by Bill Curry.

    Face it. We’re wandering in the wilderness until Cox retires and the front office is replaced by the new ownership in, what, three years?

    Hope Arthur Blanc is still healthy and interested in the Braves at that time. Can you imagine …? We’d be a destination again.

  131. @216. I don’t think the writer has any idea what he’s talking about regarding the “potential” $30 mil cut in payroll. I think he’s just saying if we don’t sign anyone else we’ll cut payroll by $30 mil. This won’t happen – we’ll sign at least one more outfielder and one more pitcher – hopefully that will provide some upgrade – it will definitely reduce our $30 mil cut in payroll.

  132. DOB has stated many times that the payroll wouldnt be cut. I remember that he was told by Wren that there was about $40 mil to spend, not counting what they would potentially offer to Smoltz or Glavine

  133. @220

    I agree. He also says that Heyward is going to play center.

    You don’t offer AJ Burnett 80+ MM if you are dropping payroll by 30 MM.

    Passan used to work at the Star in KC (like half of internet writers) and he was one of the few who never really impressed me. Always seemed like he was trying too hard.

  134. Rosenthal says the Rays are close on Pat Burrell. So even the low-budget (like 47 million) Tampa Bay Rays are bigger spenders on the free agent market this offseason than the Braves and their alleged 35 million available dollars.

    http://tinyurl.com/9phgxd

    Two years and 16 million. Come on! The Braves couldn’t top that?

  135. Dan, yeah, that’s kind of insane. The Braves should get in on that.

    Note that the Phils signed Ibanez for 1 more year and $14 million more dollars. Phillies, LOL.

  136. Agreed on everyone’s assessment of the Yahoo article. It is clearly a little short on research. DOB definitely has more credibility.

    I don’t really want Burrell. If the front office feels the same way, good for them.

  137. With a potential outfield of Gregor Blanco, Matt Diaz, Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur…maybe the Braves think Pat Burrell and his high OBP and legit 30-homer threat is too much ‘quality’ for their outfield?

  138. Does Moorad’s impending purchase of the Pads kill any possibility of a Peavy trade?

    I say it does.

  139. I hope it does, at least on the terms (Esco, Gorkys, plus others) that were previously discussed.

  140. Upon further review, Cabrera was the number one backup in 1991 and 1992. Willard was the third catcher in 1991 and had the game winning sac fly in the bottom of the 9th in game 4 of the ’91 WS.

    Don’t know who the third catcher was in ’92 as no name shows up in the box scores for the NLCS or WS, but there are definite roster spots unaccounted for.

  141. Burrell for 2 years at 16 million total is a good deal for the Braves.

    Lowe at 12 million for 3 years is a good deal for the Braves.

    Maybe the yahoo at Yahoo is right?

  142. Jeremy,
    Yeah, it’s a little tight. Lucky for me, it only cost $5 at Model’s.

    Francisco Cabrera. Pennant. Smart move.

    Frank Cabrera actually had 3 big pinch hits for the Braves: He hit a HR in that big comeback game vs the Reds in late ’91; the legendary ALCS-winning hit vs. Pittsburgh’s Stan Belinda; and he had another one in the ’93 NLCS vs Philly & Mitch Williams that tied a game that was later lost (Dykstra HR off Wohlers).

    The ’92 hit has special resonance for me. I’d gone to the middle 3 games in Pittsburgh & I remember getting some grief (I was wearing a Braves cap) at the Clarke Bar down the street from 3 Rivers. My favorite shot after Cabrera’s hit is the look of shock on the Pirates fans sitting at the Clarke Bar after that game. The network cut away from the game for an instant.

    I still have that tape & when I watch it, I always chuckle.

  143. Parish at 234,

    Javier Lopez sat in the bullpen in the 1992 World Series. Had no at bats or plate appearances or games played.

    I remember a home run in Toronto almost hitting him, but I can’t even remember if it was for or against the Braves.

  144. really 2/16 for Burrell??? not sure why we wouldnt like that deal. I thought he wanted $12-14 per

  145. Whoa – I assumed that the $16M was annual for Burrell. I do not think he is a good fit, but with limited other options, that price does intrigue me.

  146. 8 million a year for Burrell and only 2 years!
    Guess his RH power and high OBP wouldn’t work in our All-Star OF.

  147. Why does everybody say Burrell is “not a good fit.” Every one of the “boppers” out there can’t really field. Not Dunn, not Burrell, not Abreu (he is faster and looks better, but he doesn’t cover ground well at all).

    At 2 years, we can trade him to AL as a DH / 5th outfielder / emergency first baseman. He would only be a “sunk cost” if he gets a major injury (which would sink any of the candidates).

    He bats righthanded at about 950 or so OPS level. If this team played as well against left handers as right handers wouldn’t we have been right in the playoff hunt? You have Schaffer, Anderson, and Blanco (and Diaz, if his knee is allright) as potential late inning caddies.

    Why does this signing not make sense?

  148. By David O’Brien

    January 5, 2009 2:10 PM | Link to this

    Joe M., only thing I can tell you about payroll and that anonymous Yahoo sports thing you quoted was, I asked Wren specifically on Saturday whether economy had affected Braves’ payroll or their plans for winter, in any way, and he said no, nothing’s changed.

    I gotta ask you: If they were reducing payroll by $30 mill, why on earth would Braves add an $11.5 mill salary (Vazquez) and offer $10 mill per year to Furcal? Makes no sense, Joe. Sorry, but it just doesn’t compute.

    DOB also says he just talked to Glavine and he’s throwing at 120 feet with no problems. He’ll try throwing off a mound next week

  149. I wanted no part of Burrell at the beginning of the offseason when the predictions were 4 years at 12-14 per because I didn’t want the tail end of that deal. 2/16 is a steal and would fit our ballclub perfectly. I can’t *believe* we aren’t in on Burrell at this price.

    Heck, go for 2/20. It’s still a good deal.

  150. DOB also says he just talked to Glavine and he’s throwing at 120 feet with no problems.

    That’s odd. I remember him throwing from about 60.5 feet last year with all sorts of problems.

  151. Frank Wren is a dumbass. $10M for Bradley and $8M for Burrell — and we weren’t in on either of them.

  152. Well, that takes 2 quality corner OF targets with utterly reasonable price tags off the market. This Burrell signing stings.

  153. 257—I have to think so.

    You could pay Burrell $18 million and some late-inning defensive caddy $6 million over the next two seasons, and you’d still come out with a great deal. And we have in-house, late-inning defensive caddies who cost nothing.

    :(

  154. It wasn’t Cabrera I was talking about so much — he’d been on the roster all year, and was a pinch-hitter and 1B as well as third string catcher.

    But at least twice IIRC, Cox brought up a catcher from the minors at the tail end of the season, just so he could serve as the third catcher on the 25-man playoff roster. Some combination of:

    1993 — Berryhill, Olson, Javy (DNP)
    1995 — Javy, O’Brien, Perez (DNP)
    1996 — Javy, Perez, Ayrault (DNP)

    He might have also carried Tim Spehr on the 1997 playoff roster. It’s hard to show when it happened, because typically the third catcher would never appear in a playoff boxscore. I can confirm Javy from memory and Ayrault via his BBRef bullpen page.

  155. While I agree on Burrell, there is no way we should have gone for Bradley at 3/30. That is just too long and too much to commit to a head case. I like Bradley’s production and could’ve seen 1/10 or 2/16 but not 3/30.

  156. Bradley hasn’t been able to stay even mediocre healthy. His offense is better than the rest of the crowd and IF he is healthy he actually is athletic enough to be a decent outfielder. However, that IF is rather Everest like.

  157. Bradley has played 817 games from 2000-08, or 91 (actually, 90.777…) games per season. This is 54th among outfielders, behind any number of players who have been retired for several years. It’s fewer games than Cliff Floyd or Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Jr. or Bernie Williams or Terrance Long. It’s fewer games than Michael Tucker or Sammy Sosa or Matt Lawton.

  158. Put me down on the Burrell at that price would’ve been a good idea side of the debate… at 15+ it wasn’t a great idea… at 2/16 it’s silly for us to NOT have been in on it.

  159. Dammit Ethan! I made it to level 6 on the first try… not sure how much better I’d do if I kept trying (let’s face it, I’m a US American and don’t get all the African and South American countries quite right).

  160. That Burrell deal is a complete steal, especially for an AL team that doesn’t have to deal with his defense. The Rays have added a big bat and a big arm (Price), and will get a full year out of Longoria. The AL East is frickin stacked.

    Also, I just read the Jeff Passan article someone linked earlier, and it’s basically useless. He does a good job of assessing the current team, but mentioning Heyward in CF and not Schafer? And insinuating that the Braves were actively cutting payroll? Not too well researched, IMO, though I understand he’s got to do one of these things for each team. I also think he’s overreacting to the perceived snubs of the off-season like so many others on this board.

    Let’s just get Lowe signed and go to spring training already….

  161. I can’t get past Level 11. A friend showed it to me on Xmas Eve and been working on it since. Russia is too big. So is Australia.

    @271.

    Man. It might be true, but damn, that’s a shot in the jewels.

  162. My office mates and I got stuck on that geography game not too long ago. It’s hard to play on a laptop (maps too little). I think none of us could get any closer than 6km from a location.

  163. Another day, another handful of players 10X better than what we have signing with other teams for way less than what conventional wisdom thought they would.

    Sigh.

    This franchise is just hopeless.

  164. Everyone’s got to remember that again Tampa had some other characteristics the Braves couldn’t match: a chance to play for a surefire playoff contender, a chance to play DH, which should increase his productivity and future value, and a chance to play close to the site of his most successful years, playing at the U. of Miami.

    I might have taken a chance at Burrell for 2/16, but I’d think the Braves would’ve had to top that offer to more in the range of 2/18 or even 2/20, and I’m not sure it makes sense to go that high.

    Bradley’s a headcase and 3 years is much too large a commitment to get drug into if you’re in the Braves position.

  165. I feel pretty pathetic that I can’t get past level 5. I’m going to blame that on the fact that I haven’t taken a World History class since my sophomore year in high school (Fall of 2004)

  166. Wow. That’s a tough game. I think I know the globe pretty well and got to level 11, too.

    You can really miss an island by a lot when you can’t even see the dots on the map.

  167. DOB sure is right: big moves this week!

    Somebody wake me when the Braves do something, big or not, that actually helps the team win games. Right now Neyer’s 90-loss prediction seems about right, though they could easily make 100 with this roster.

  168. I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to spend all the money “available” at this point, at least not without something unusual. Wren’s latest statement about the economy not changing his plans can be taken in a couple of different ways, and the one that has him spending 30 or 40 million through FA doesn’t seem so likely at this point.

    Maybe he’s been looking to play for ’10 since the Furcal deal fell through. Next year’s FA class sucks, though.

  169. guys, quick update….my 1st child should be here sometime tomorrow, just pray everything goes smoothly. Will update sometime tomorrow

  170. Also, that promotion touting Francoeur to help sell tickets makes me NOT want to buy tickets to watch this team.

    I’m really beginning to be disgusted. Seriously, they would rather have Matt Diaz/Gregor Blanco than Pat Burrell at a reasonable price in LF? Is Wren effing retarded?

  171. If Wren is not interested in Burrell even at 2/$16M, then he must be aiming for something better…let’s judge him when spring training comes…

  172. Gregor Blanco is OPSing over 1000 right now in the Winter Leagues.

    Blanco will be better than Burrell in 2009.

  173. good Luck CSG, my girl is almost 5 months, i have aged 5 years in that time but worth every second of it.
    Stay in the hospital as many nights as you can and enjoy it.

  174. FWIW, Blanco raked in the winter leagues last year as well.

    I like Blanco. I think he’s an adequate placeholder to be the everyday CF until Schafer is ready, and a good 4th outfielder on a contending team.

    The problem is, of course, we have 4th outfielder types –Diaz and Blanco — and a 5th outfielder type in Anderson. Francoeur? A substitute teacher playing RF.

  175. Double frick! I just heard Burrell went to the Rays. My goodness. The Braves are really trying my commitment. At this point, I think I just need to quit looking at the individual deals, and just see what the team looks like in Spring Training. My commitment is struggling right now. The Rays are making huge strides forward, and the Braves are taking gigantic leaps backward. The Rays are winning my heart, especially after seeing so many of their games this year, including ALCS Game 7.

    I might just be overreacting.

  176. Count your blessings csg – mine came during the epic Farnsworth meltdown playoff game. At least the baby made it to the next round…

  177. Rob, waiting and seeing what we’ve got in spring training might be a good idea. Wren isn’t going to show his cards anymore. But it does seem like he’s missed an opportunity in Burrell. We’ll see.

    Tampa Bay’s going to be good for years to come. What would be the fun in cheering for them? heh heh.

  178. Well, the Rays went to the World Series, and they are a young and exciting team…much like the 1991 version of the Braves…people will take less to play for the Rays, and Wren can throw the monies at people and they will still not come to Atlanta…how things have changed so quickly?!

  179. Who needs Pat Burrell ?? Andruw wants to come back! Seriously though, a minor league deal for the minimum with a ST invite wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. If the Braves weren’t or aren’t interested in Burrell, Dunn, Ibanez, ManRam, Bradley, then who exactly is a target at this point ?? I really don’t even have any ideas. As was pointed out, 2/24 would have been fine by me for Burrell.

  180. csg–Congratulations–we had our first child in July and its been a blast! I hope that the delivery goes smoothly…I am sorry that your grandfather did not live to see you become a parent–must have been a very strange and incredibly emotional week for you….Congratulations and Good Luck!

  181. thanks guys….We just got to the hospital and I love wireless internet. Stephen, thanks! We were hoping my grandfather would be here, but he’s looking down from above. He’s better than all of us now. It has been a weird week nonetheless. Talk to you guys tomorrow, hopefully some good news regarding the delivery and secondary, some good news on the Braves

  182. Geez – I feel like the Buckeyes have not missed a tackle all night. That’s why they were winning. That one miss costs them big time.

    Hook ’em Horns, I guess.

  183. I think as one half of the Big 12 apologists around here (Ethan being the other), I really wasn’t that surprised that Ohio State played Texas tough tonight. They were pretty tough after they went with Pryor this year. I guess I wasn’t as impressed with Texas, OU & Texas Tech as others. I don’t think any of those teams (certainly not Texas Tech) could hang with Florida, USC, etc. I think OU & Texas could probably beat Utah, but who the hell knows.

  184. @305: Really? 2 years for $24 million for Burrell? If we’re just looking to waste money then we should’ve thrown it at Burnett… Burrell just wouldn’t fit into a Bobby Cox team, and I’d rather see the playing time go to guys like Blanco, Anderson, and Schaefer than to an overpaid Burrell.

    Even with Burrell this team would need a lot of unexpected production to compete for a title, and without Burrell I’m pretty confident that we’ll be able to succeed if we get the right guys to step up.

    Whether anyone will admit it or not free agency is being affected by the weak economy, and I’m glad to see the Braves won’t be overextending just to move from 4th place projections to 3rd place projections. Once Bobby and Roger get this team in spring training we’ll see what we’ve got.

  185. The goal in the SEC is to win the conference. If you do, then you probably go to the NC game. If you lose the title game, then you just play not to get hurt in the bowl.

    That being said; Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and LSU all would have beaten both of those teams tonight. The play calling was terrible. I think Ohio State made a mistake playing Pryor when the other guy seemed to do a better job moving the football.

    Why didn’t Texas run the ball with 7:30 left? They were doing a great job of pushing Ohio state off the line and the hurry play calling after the run in the drive before was really dominating. They just went away from it.

  186. Gadfly, I’d rather see Schafer in center and Burrell in left than any combination of the three guys you listed (Schafer, Anderson, Blanco). The Braves needed right handed power. 2 years for Burrell isn’t that bad. If worst came to worst, they could have always moved him to first and traded Kotchman in ’10. They could have still played Blanco or Anderson for defense in late innings, which obviously would have been needed.

    I’m just saying, he fit exactly what the Braves were reported as to needing:

    1) bats right handed
    2) can actually hit home runs
    3) short term deal

    There aren’t many left who fit this profile besides Manny, which apparently won’t work either.

  187. Dude, how would Pat Burrell not fit on a Bobby Cox team? He’s not known for causing dissent or for being a clubhouse cancer. He is mostly known for being a really good hitter and a crappy fielder. I bet Bobby could figure out a way to work 30 homers into his lineup. Remember Ryan Klesko?

  188. csg,
    Good luck. Hope everything works out perfectly.

    Really entertaining game tonight. No dog in that hunt, so I was just kind of watching.

    Tressel did a good job of ditching Pryor in obvious passing situations, for the most part, once he got down 17-6. Kid’s good, but he’s a challenged passer—he’s DJ Shockley with no accuracy.

    Tough luck about Wells, so they did a good job coming back. Didn’t think they had it in ’em, even if it didn’t work out in the end.

    One thing made me a little crazy, though: Why in the world did Tressel go for 2 in the end? Made no sense.

    He kicks it and he’s set up to win with a FG if Texas comes back & scores a TD, which they did. (UT would’ve gone for 2 there themselves, but put the pressure on them.) Going up 6 is nice, but there’s no huge advantage there.

    As it worked out with the post-TD penalty, OSU could’ve completed one pass & been in FG range. Instead, they got sacked and that was that.

    Smitty,
    Texas had trouble running the ball when they weren’t in that hurry-up offense. After blazing up and down the field in the second half, Texas obviously didn’t think OSU could stop them, but they did in 2 straight possessions.

  189. Ya know, I’ve been pretty scarce in my criticism of Atlanta’s offseason so far. I’ve even defended it pretty heavily against guys like The Original Alex R, but I’m starting to severely lose confidence. It’s not like we have guys that are just on the verge of being able to take on a starting spot which might deter us from signing a player (say a prospect to put in LF or in the rotation; we don’t have any candidates), and it’s not like we don’t have money to spend. At this point, it’s getting frustrating that we’re supposed to have money to spend, but Bradley’s settling for 3/30 and Burrell for 2/16. Then, we lose out to Peavy, Furcal, and Burnett, and I just feel like there’s not much left. What kind of organization are we that Burrell is going to the Rays for less money than we could have offered when, as Remington and jj3bagger have put it, Burrell would have been a good fit in Atlanta? I don’t get it; I just simply don’t.

    And before I blame Wren, I wonder where JS is in all of this. Supposedly he still has a lot of influence, and yet he’s been relatively quiet when he’s not blacklisting agents. Now more than ever, I’m really interested to see how this all plays out. As a now south Florida guy and with the directions the Rays and Braves are taking, how could I not become a more quasi-Rays fan? Am I just overreacted here? Someone talk some sense into me. Maybe ububba and Mac can help me here, since they were around for the rotten years. I don’t know the ages of too many others on here. Hyde, you there? I suppose this 22 year old is not used to Atlanta being so… irrelevant.

  190. Rob,
    Let’s not tack extra years onto Mac’s driver’s license. I’m pretty sure I’m older—first game I ever saw was in the Nixon Era.

    That said, it’s not been a good off-season so far. What my “vast perspective” offers me, though, is a little patience. (See, I’m quoting a crazy old man named Axl Rose.) I’m just not going to jump up and down until I see what the roster is going to be.

    Wren says he’s exploring trades & FAs. No reason not to believe him.

    BTW, nobody says you can’t root for 2 teams, especially if they’re in different leagues. When I was a kid, I rooted for Baltimore, too. Brooks Robinson was my guy.

    I lost any feeling for them in the Angelos Era. I’d see them visit Yankee Stadium in the early ’90s & not care. As a friend once harshly put it, “It was like seeing an old girlfriend who got fat.”

  191. Congrats and good vibes, csg.

    Best thing about the game tonight was the Texas marching band doing “Kashmir.” Too bad they cut “Stairway” off but there was no was we were going to see all of that one.

  192. It seems to me that just about everyone is over-reacting on here. It’s almost like everyone just wants a move to say that we made a move – no matter what it might be. Sure it would have been great to have Burrell at that price, but let’s face it – he’s going to the AL where he belongs. At least he can DH over there – he fields almost as poorly as Dunn. I think Wren has done a great job a side-stepping the mediocre talent and going after the guys he thinks can help us win. He can’t do anything if those guys are just not accepting the offers. Mediocre players won’t help us compete next year and I don’t see why everyone thinks they will.

    However, I do believe Wren would be crazy not to top that current offer for Lowe. He is much more accomplished than Burnett, so I don’t see why we don’t try to match that offer. Definately not the 5 years, but the same annual salary. That would easily top what the Mets are offering. 3 years for Lowe at about 15 mil would be a good deal I think.

  193. I’ve played that stupid geography game a few more times and now made it to level 7… but the islands (I can barely SEE hawaii, let alone the smaller pacific islands) and African nations are still killing me.

    Oh, and congrats csg! my middle kid (5) spent the day going to dentists and docs for x-rays after face planting into our stairs and knocking a tooth loose… so you’ve got that to look forward to!

  194. I dunno, a marching band playing “Stairway to Heaven” sounds like something James McMurtry would write a song about.

    Just say no to Andruw.

  195. Broken Hearted…
    Some smarmy sportcasters, started by Mike Lupica on the Sunday “Sports Reporters”, are insinuating that Tony Dungy’s Colts have been underachievers, you know, like the Atlanta Braves.

    As a Braves fan living in the Indianapolis area, I’m ready with lawyers, guns, and money. I’ve been listening to “only one” for my baseball team for years, now I’ve got to hear this same crap for my football team?

  196. OK, I made it to level 10 on stupid geography game and had NO friggin CLUE where most of those were. (yes, geography game is distracting me from my real work of worrying about the Braves not making any more moves yet… and waiting on Macworld keynote address by not-Steve Jobs).

  197. rob………i’ll be turning 60 later in this bright new year and i’ve been following the braves since 1957. it wasnt always easy since before cable tv and the internet, information was sketchy at best. (even with a long-time Sporting News subscription) it may get worse before it gets better(kinda looks that way), but the irrelevance will pass.

  198. I think I was a better fan when I was a kid watching the mid to late 80’s teams. I was naive enough to think Andres Thomas’ batting stance was cool (while overlooking that he was terrible). I was young enough to not know any better and was just excited to see baseball everyday on tv. I wished the Murph was on the team once they started doing well, but it sure was sweet when they started to win.

    This mediocre Braves team has been hard to watch and the offseason hasn’t been much better. I haven’t understood some of the attempted moves and non-moves so far, but I like the Vasquez trade. You gotta think Wren’s working on something. We’ll see what we get.

  199. If DOB is right about the Braves having roughly $25 million left to spend, then the payroll didn’t actually increase and might have gone down. Adding $25 million to the current commitment doesn’t even get the payroll to $92 million, and if you take the Hudson insurance money into account, it barely gets it past $85 million.

    If that number is right, (a) I think we were mislead, and (b) we’re more limited in the moves we can make than I thought.

    We could still probably afford Swisher, Lowe, and Smoltz, but that’s it.

  200. @337 – I thought he said somewhere that the $25 million was outside of re-signing Smoltz/Glavine. I may have just mis-read that, but that’s what I got out of it. And don’t forget that we just spent almost $12 million on Vasquez.

  201. Don’t worry, Joshua, my Excel spreadsheet won’t allow me to forget any of what’s been spent. Vazquez makes $11.5M, for what it’s worth.

    Pretty sure the listed available funds include what’s available for Smoltz and Glavine. Wren has said that Smoltz and Glavine would not count as one of the two starters he planned to add, but I think their salaries were always included in the listed budget.

  202. Apparently Nady and Swisher are drawing some interest. I had Nady pegged as being “young” and Swisher as being a little older… but Swisher is only 28 and Nady 30. Also Nady has better BA, but OBP equalizes them a bit and Swisher is under contract until 2011… so he may be the better option? It’s nice that both can play corner outfield spots and first too, so if we ended up with some of our other outfielders working for us either one could take over first and we could trade Kotchman for something.

    Also interesting (to me anyway) is that the 30yo Nady has played in 672 games, and the 31yo Andruw Jones has played in 1836.

  203. The only high-salaried player the Braves added so far was veteran starting pitcher Javier Vazquez, owed $11.5 million each of the next two seasons. Backup catcher Dave Ross got a two-year, $3 million deal.

    While the Braves never stated a specific 2009 payroll target, Wren and Braves CEO Terry McGuirk said after last season that the amount would increase from their approximate $92 million payroll of 2008.

    Considering the big salaries that came off the books, including Mike Hampton and Mark Teixeira, it was estimated the Braves entered the offseason with about $40 million to spend on 2009 additions.

    He may be getting that $25 mil from the 11.5 and 3 million given to Ross. However, the 3 mil is only 1.5 for this year, so I have no idea – but it’s worth noting.

  204. RE: Texas/OSU

    I kind of agree with jj3bagger. I thought this would be a closer game than most people thought. OSU was playing for that senior class, whom everyone should feel for now. Regardless of whom people feel was deserving, Texas got the shaft of a flawed system. It’s not hard to see how OSU would be more up for the game. Plus, the extra time they had to get Pryor acclimated with the offense would be extremely beneficial.

    I said it a few weeks ago, much rather have seen Texas vs. Alabama.

    I’ll give the SEC the edge right now in comparing the conferences, (especially after watching Tech S*&# the bed) but I think, even if it doesn’t give us an undisputed National Champion, the title game will determine the best conference in the country.

    RE: Braves. I don’t like where we’re at now, but I’ve decided to withhold judgment until the season starts. Building a team isn’t a race; Wren’s worth will be proven by the team’s performance on the field.

  205. I think Ohio State is a second tier program, maybe even a third. Most of the instate talent they get is over hyped. The Big 10 sucks. They do play one game a year out of conference aginst a good team, and lose. Then they fluff the rest of their non conference with Youngstown State and another in state school like Ohio University.

    The game has passed the Big Ten by. The rest of the major confrences are much fast and much more physical. I think the top teams in the WAC would match-wup well and probably hold their own in the Big Ten, if not win it. Utah is a better team than Ohio State or Penn State.

    As for the Big 12, this leauge plays no D. I like Mac Brown, but I wouldn’t want him coaching my team. If Oklahoma is blown out by Florida, they will be headed into Ohio State territory as far as “not belonging with the big boys in bowl games.”

    I use to think the Pac 10 was over hyped, but I don’t feel that way anymore. USC should be playing Florida Thursday. Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and Arizona all had solid seasons. The bottom few teams do suck, but every conference has those. Plus they haven’t lost a bowl game I don’t think.

    Let’s face it, the SEC is far and away the best conference in football and it is getting further away from the competition every year.

    1)SEC
    2)Pac 10
    3)Big 12
    4)ACC
    5)Big East
    6)Big 10
    7)WAC (Closing in on the Big 10)

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