Yunel Escobar

Presumably, his full year as a starter would give us a handle on Escobar’s abilities, if he is really as good as he looked in part-time play in 2007. Needless to say, that’s not the case. At times, Escobar looked like one of the best players in the league, a gold-glove-level shortstop (he led the majors for most of the year in John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system) with a good, broad-based offensive game, hitting for average and drawing walks, and popping the occasional homer. But he spent most of the year battling injuries. At times, he tried to play through them, with catastrophic results.

Month OPS Games
Mar/Apr .839 26
May .698 27
June .782 22
July .594 17
Aug .779 28
Sept/Oct 16 1.008

The splits are a bit too grainy to give you the full picture, but that’s the gist of it. Just when he started to get healthy and really raking it, he got hurt again. The question, as I see it, is now if the injuries will be chronic, because I don’t have any doubt that if healthy, Yunel will hit. If he stays healthy, I think he could hit .300 with an OBP around .385 and a slugging percentage about .450 — which would be really good with his defense.

That defense was outstanding last year, particularly early in the year. His biggest injury problem was to his left shoulder, which kept him from extending his glove hand as much as he might, but he still made a lot of plays. He makes more errors than some might like, but I don’t really care… Aggressive baserunner. In 2007, that paid off, but not so much in 2008, and he was caught five times in eight SB attempts. Grounded into 24 double plays, fourth in the league. Let’s not do that again, okay Yunel?

Yunel Escobar Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

269 thoughts on “Yunel Escobar”

  1. And we were going to trade him (plus a ton of prospects) for Peavy? No thanks.

    If he hits that .300/.385/.450 Mac was talking about… well, that’s boardering on elite.

  2. from previous thread:
    ryan c,
    What do they call that piggly desert?

    ububba, it’s called “House Made Fudge Farms Bacon Brownie”. Apparently Fudge Farms is a pork plant in Alabama that has won many awards for their pork and humanitarian way of slaughter the swine. here’s boucherie’s website. it’s kind of outdated because their menu changes rather frequently. the best part about the place is they do not charge corking fees for outside alcohol. the food is great and is not expensive. my wife, my friend, and i ate 3 course meals for 65 bucks.

    http://www.boucherie-nola.com/

  3. ryan,
    Sounds like a helluva deal. Been too long since I’ve been to The Big Easy.

    Re: Esco
    As a guy who always covets great-fielding shortstops (with range, of course), I view Yunel as a cornerstone player.

    And I agree with the notion that, if healthy, he’ll always hit. I’ve said it before, but if the game’s on the line I’m as comfortable with Escobar as I am with Chipper and B-Mac.

    Still a little curious about the organization’s willingness to deal him, but I’m glad we still have him.

  4. Ryan, I just saw something about bacon being the new dessert craze. I’ll have to dig up the article and read it. I’m in the school that bacon on anything makes it better.

    Ububba, I guess its the you have to trade quality to get quality deal. The Braves valued Peavey enough to try and trade them a bonified major league short stop and for some reason I was ok with it. As they say though, the trades that don’t happen may be the best ones. We should be happy that Kevin Towers is retarded or more likely Jake Peavey loves living in San Diego. If Yunel stays near his 2 year averages then he indeed is a corner stone with potential to be a star.

    Mac, How are you doing?

  5. Yea I’ve had good experiences with the Vortex, except this latest one. I now know that I am not a fan of the Ragin Cajun burger.

  6. DOB is reporting that we have/had interest in Orlando Hudson. I’m not too keen on shipping KJ out, but if we can get a good return on him for an outfielder, I’d be down. Hudson, from what I saw of him when he was on the Blue Jays plays a pretty great second base, which is something that would be great for us considering that our rotation is full of solid pitchers who can win ballgames if they get good play from the defense. Also, it looks like he may come at a relative bargain as there’s a depressed second base market.

  7. Not sure if anybody has read this or not from Gammons’ most recent article:

    Even Rangers team president Nolan Ryan was blown away by 20-year-old right-hander Neftali Perez in the Rangers’ pitching camp this week. “When Nolan is blown away by arm speed,” said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, “we may be on to something.”

    Yikes.

  8. About a week ago, I said we should sign Hudson and use KJ as the main piece to get Ludwick. I’ll still stand by that as being, IMO, the best move to round out the main components of the offseason.

    @11

    since we made the Teixeira trade, I’ve been sick about giving up Feliz

  9. Just to keep depression at a low level, can we establish a “No Talking About Neftali Perez” rule?

  10. At their current ages and coming off their last 3 years of performance, KJ is a better defensive 2B than Hudson. Also, he is at least Hudson’s equal as an offensive player (assuming no major improvement in Kj and slight age based decline in Hudson). KJ could be vastly superior on offense.

    I want Ludwick. (I really think that Ludwick lets us play Ludwick in right and Diaz / Blanco or Jones or Anderson or Schafer in left and that is his REAL value). I want to keep KJ, but would trade him for Ludwick (I really don’t think the Cardinals are now looking for a second baseman, but rather for pitching).

    But, if I did trade KJ for Ludwick, despite the fact that I think the pro-Prado crowd is nuts (he is o.k., but nothing special offensively and a slight liability defensively), I would still not want to commit money to a down side of career Orlando Hudson. If you move KJ, play Prado and watch Diory and Hicks as possible back up plans. Then, use the money saved to put a signing bonus on the table for Chipper so that you can offer him something that would work for the Braves and for Chipper by adding 2 (not 3) more years to his contract.

  11. With all due respect to the proprietor of this site, Escobar has never looked like one of the best players in baseball. Not once.

  12. Chief, is Derek Jeter one of the best players in baseball? (I actually said “in the league”, but Jeter isn’t in the league.) In March and April, Escobar hit .302 .391 .448. Jeter’s career line is .316 .387 .458. Pretty close, huh? And Escobar is a far better defensive player, though he’s a much worse baserunner.

  13. I don’t mind doing the Hudson + KJ-for-Ludwick dance provided we get Hudson cheaply enough. It seems like he could turn out poorly long-term if we give him, say, a 4-year deal. Ludwick is also something of a risk. I dunno. It would definitely take care of the “lineup is too left-handed” issue.

  14. @ 15
    On what planet is KJ as good as hudson defensively? KJ has played second base for two seasons over the last three, Hudson has won three gold gloves over the last four. I know GGs are overrated and don’t tell the whole story, but neither do your metrics. With our ok pitching staff, we need stellar defense to compete with the mets and phillies, and that’s never going to happen with KJ at second.

  15. 2 Things:

    1. Why don’t we sign Ben Sheets?

    2. Is the Texeira trade going to be as bad the doyle-smoltz or anderson-bagwell trade?

  16. The thing I don’t like about Escobar is he is TOO agressive running bases. He got throw out several times streching out singles stuff.

  17. Stu–Going back to the previous thread–and your friend’s love of bacon….He would have lots of trouble here–it took us 7 months before we found a reliable source.

    Otherwise, I never been to Vortex, but I have been thinking about it since last night….

  18. @19:

    Hudson gained a reputation as a defensive wizard based largely on three admittedly excellent (particularly 2004) seasons in Toronto from 2003-05. However, his fielding metrics have been in decline since, and 2008 was quite similar to Kelly Johnson’s, from a defensive standpoint.

    To wit, Hudson’s UZR/150 (UZR adjusted for 150 games played) since 2003: 3.4, 15.8(!!!), 7.0, -3.8, -2.9, -9.1(though he did only play 105 games, so it might not have been quite so bad).

    KJ has posted a UZR/150 score of -8.4 in each of his two full seasons as a second baseman.

    Hudson’s Range Factor has been slowly declining from a peak of 5.3 in 2004 to 2008’s 4.6. KJ’s RF scores? 4.6 and 4.8.

    FanGraphs’ value tool rates Hudson’s 2008 defense as worth -$6.1MM; KJ’s at -$8.3MM, with offensive contributions virtually equal. For what it’s worth, Kelly’s defense in left field in 2005 was rated at +$4.1MM.

    When you factor in the obvious decline in Hudson’s defense over the last few years, the fact that he’s nearly five years older, and the fact that KJ is still cost-controlled, the argument for signing Hudson — particularly at the expense of trading Kelly — is a tough one to craft.

  19. The Braves could sign Ben Sheets to not pitch much in 2009 (just get healthy) and then have him strong in 2010. Not the greatest use of resources at this point, but that’d be a sweet rotation in 2010.

  20. c.shorter–It will never happen, but one thing that I like about your idea is that the next year’s free agent class will be very thin. This could be a great risk–but that assumes that Sheets can actually get healthy….

  21. @27 – Next year’s free agent class may be very thin, but we shouldn’t need much pitching – if any. Hanson should definately be firmly planted in the rotation by then, and I believe we expect to have Hudson back as well. That would leave us with a glut of SP (a nice problem to have for sure). This is assuming everyone stays healthy of course. Hudson, Lowe, Vasquez, Jurrjens, and Hanson looks pretty good to me (and that is also assuming that Morton and Reyes don’t figure out this big league pitching). And we still have Campillo too. I really like where we are sitting on the SP front. We need some bats.

    Personally, the only reason I’d take Sheets at this point is to keep him from the Mets.

  22. Looking at the potential rotations for this year and next, it definitely seems we should trade from our group of young starters.

    One (or maybe even two) of Morton, Parr, Reyes, Lerew, Redmond, and Medlen should be able to get us an outfield bat, right?

  23. Parish-

    Out of that group, only Medlen and Morton (and maybe Reyes) are at all valuable. The rest are organizational filler/2008-level emergency guys.

    Medlen and Morton might get someone mediocre, (maybe Nady), but it’s not something I’d like to see us do.

  24. Parr also has value as he was only 22 and showed decent potential.

    I might add that if the Mariners can trade for HoRam, then any one of these pitchers might be useful in a deal….

    I am not for dealing more than one of them right now, unless a really great opportunity presents itself….

  25. Why don’t people view morton as organizational filler? I mean reyes has had a strong minor league track record, I wouldn’t say the same of Morton. He got hyped up last spring nad has since shown us nothing. Speaking of filler, what ever happened to chuck james?

  26. @36 – The only reason I have some kind of hope for Morton is that he seems to have better stuff than the rest of the group listed @32. If he could just learn how to pitch, he could be very dangerous. It may never happen, but I’d rather give him a shot than I would Reyes. Reyes seems too on par with Chuck James for me, and their stuff being similar.

    @31 – I sure did forget Kawakami. Our depth will be an extremely welcome asset.

    @30 – I did point out that Hudson was an assumption – and I believe we expect to have Hudson back as well

  27. Think he comes out of that with some credit.

    Accepts responsibility for his actions and doesn’t whine.

    #36, I’m not willing to commit on Morton yet. He’s barely been healthy in his time in Atlanta, and if you check out his game log last year you’ll be able to see when he had an injection in his shoulder quite clearly.

  28. On a different note, MLBTR is showing that Tom Glavine would be interested in signing with the Nationals if he is unable to reach an agreement with the Braves for the 2009 season.

    I pray on everything good and holy that we do not offer this guy a contract. We do not need a reason for Bobby to keep throwing this guy out there every 5th day just b/c he was good at one time.

  29. I’d rather throw Reyes out there than Glavine. And that’s not even mentioning the money we’d save by not signing him.

  30. I would not be giving Glavine much more than Andruw and the latter should get a Javy Lopez type contract….

  31. Olney’s latest blog entry has a couple of interesting snippets in it:

    Even if you include pitchers, Andruw Jones is one of the worst hitters in the majors against right-handed pitching. He had an OPS of .436 in 2008 against righties, with one homer in 136 at-bats. That was a lower OPS than that of hitting immortals Tim Lincecum, Aaron Cook and Matt Cain.

    The most difficult pitcher in the majors against whom to square the baseball, of anybody who threw 40 or more innings, was Oakland’s Joey Devine. Opponents mustered a .170 slugging percentage against him, with only three doubles, no triples and no homers in 45.2 innings.

    The latter being extemely depressing…

  32. If you don’t think we could get a potential outfield bat for one or two of those starting pitchers, have you forgotten about the Villareal or Ridgway deals?

  33. I’ve been a Braves fan since they moved to Atlanta. Through the miserable years and the good, I thought Furcal was the best all-around shortstop the Braves have had since their move south.

    I think Yunel is now and will be in the future better than Furcal. Stay healthy, Yesco.

    Didn’t the Cardinals fix their infield deficiency? I thought they wanted young starting pitching now.

  34. Yunel Escobar should be as close to untouchable as possible. If they would have done a Peavy for Escobar deal, then that would have been good, but not for Escobar plus prospects. I really hope he stays healthy so that he can be one of the best shortstops in baseball for years.

  35. It’s been said by many close to him that Torre likes his money.

    When you add in the Steinbrenners’ pettiness over the years—their planted post-game questions to Torre from YES reporter Kim Jones after tough losses, their shabby treatment of bench coach and close friend Don Zimmer [in his last year with the Yanks, there was an order from the top not to ever show him on the YES broadcasts or refer to him], their total lack of acknowledgement for Torre at the last Yankee Stadium game—this is unsurprising.

    Going to Yankee games each year, I need some drama, and my favorite thing in YankeeLand is the love/hate relationship with A-Rod. This is another juicy thread to that story.

  36. A-Fraud–as much as I dislike Joe Torre (for letting Niekro go)and managing the team that beat the Braves, I would not mind reading the book.

    I am looking forward to point late in the 2009 season, when it will again become evident that A-Fraud will not get to the World Series–despite an even more expensive collection of teamates….

  37. A-Rod is so good at baseball it’s ridiculous. In my opinion, only Pujols is a better hitter. Add the field and A-Rod is the best player. He’s not the reason the Yankees fail. The Yankees are the reason A-Rod fails.

  38. So why is the best player such a gag-fest when he’s needed most?

    I’m not sure how it’s the organization’s fault that A-Rod goes 1/14 in an ALDS. Or how it’s the organization’s fault that he’s managed to alienate everyone from the clubhouse attendant to the manager.

    No, he’s not the only reason the Yankees have failed to win a title in his time here—the pitching hasn’t been as good as since ’03—but he’s a reason.

    And when you consider that, for example, his Yankee post-season OPS is nearly 150 points lower than his career OPS, he can shoulder his share of the blame.

    People can apologize all they want for him. People can talk about small sample sizes, but the fact is he’s been a post-season choker supreme in New York.

  39. A-Fraud is a great player–but he has hever won big and probably never will…It is not all his fault that Seattle and the Yanks couldn’t win the World Series, but then again it is pretty interesting that with all the talent around him, he has been unable to even appear in the World Series…

  40. I like Escobar a lot too. The real question with him is not injuries but whether he can overcome the dreaded “Bobby doesn’t like him for some petty reason unrelated to his on the field skills and wants him traded” curse.

  41. but the fact is he’s been a post-season choker supreme in New York.

    Not a fact. Nonsense.

    A-Rod’s career postseason line is .279/.361/.484. Chipper Jones’ line is .288/.411/.459. Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson, sits at .278/.358/.527. Nobody considers Chipper or Reggie “post-season chokers”. And even if one could argue that their lines are slightly better than A-Rod’s, there’s a long way from “very good” to “choker”.

    I understand that people are frustrated with his PS performance because he IS better than that, and as a person I don’t like him at all, but he is not the reason for anything the Yankees didn’t accomplish in the postseason. Hi is just the scapegoat.

  42. @60 Agreed. It’s the pitching and always has been the pitching. Plus, regardless of A-Rod’s performance, New York’s golden boy hasn’t been any better over his postseason career:

    Jeter: .309/.377/.469
    A-Rod: .279/.373/.483

    And really, the main problem has been A-Rod’s 29 at bats spread over the 2005-6 postseasons, where he was–to be certain–abominable at the plate. But it was 29 at bats, and had the Yankees pitching staffs not completely imploded, he would have had more track record to redeem or hang himself.

    Torre’s managing has been so erratic the past few years–his overreliance on vets, poor use of bullpens, breakdown of his normally-dependable clubhouse–that I’ve lost interest in what he has to say. $200 million payrolls that fail to win fall on the stars, yes, but also on the management. Torre should shut up and win in LA.

  43. Can we just take this year and leave KJ and Escobar alone and see if they develop into one of the elite middle infield combinations?

    Bobby Cox is trying his best to muck this up – God knows why.

    And as we move forward, why are we staying with Cox / Pendleton? It is obvious that FO and the manager have differing agenda at the moment. (Which is why it’s no surprise that Torre and Cashman were at odds … )

  44. With A-Rod and the Ynks the problem is they are not a team. A-Rod wants to be the leader, but he needs to undersatand that Jeter is the Captain. It would be like Tex coming to the team and going around with the mindset that he was the clubhouse leader over Chipper.

    I know some people don’t buy into that, but in order to win in baseball you have to function as a team. The team with the best players doesn’t always win. The best team does.

  45. I don’t understand the dislike of Torre. He was a good manager here and always seemed to be a good guy (of course, I don’t know him). Was his managing that much different his last years with the Yanks as his first? Maybe the team wasn’t as good.

    As far as the book, I think it’s unfair to judge it or Torre by some excerpts. Wait until you see the context. This is the way these stories happen–the media takes some snippets out of context and blows it up. Even if he did say it, if it’s the truth, what’s so bad?

  46. A-Rod could hit .400 with 3HR and 6 RBI in a 4-2 NYY series loss and people will complain that he only hit the HRs in the games they lost, or in the first inning of the game they won 11-2.

    If he hit .100 with 1HR and 1 RBI in a 4-3 series win, but the HR was a walkoff in game 6 or 7 he still wouldn’t lose the playoff choker moniker.

    I realize A-Rod isn’t the most personable and likeable guy but I don’t understand why he’s hateable. He’s just awkward at handling the attention he gets, and most MLB players probably are, they just don’t get nearly as much attention as he does.

    He isn’t even that big of a self promoter. Look at a guy like LeBron and compare what he does to A-Rod. LeBron is likleable and personable, but he’s as shameless a self promoter as you’ll ever see. A-Rod is too famous and too rich to be invisible, but for a man with his profile, he keeps his head down. He doesn’t showboat on the field and he wants desperately to win.

    The ONLY reason I don’t want to see A-Rod win a world series is because that means the Yankees won it.

  47. Neither did David Justice, until he did.

    Justice in 21 playoff series: .224/.335/.382 with 14 homers.

    But you know what we remember?

  48. Sure, but he has had chances and failed. There is no doubt that he is a great baseball player. He just isn’t one of those guys who comes up big when it matters and transends the sport like Jordan, Jeter, Montana or Tiger. Then he kind of puts out there why he doesn’t understand it.

    Think about it. If you had to have a guy come up in the 9th inning of a big game to get a hit to win it, don’t you take Jeter way over A-Rod? I do.

  49. Wow, Dix is making some great points on this, and since I’ve always liked A-Rod, I’m totally on board with him.

  50. I would take A-Rod if the Yanks don’t want him.

    I hear they like Martin Prado. Think we can get ’em to cover 75% of A-Rod’s salary? They would get 5 years of Prado.

  51. A-Rod’s post-season numbers with the Yankees are this: 244/343/436.

    In 24 post-season games with the Yanks, he has 4 HRs & 9 RBI. (Lifetime numbers are 306/389/578.)

    The numbers cited above in Tom’s post include his Seattle post-season numbers. Rightly, Yankee fans don’t care what he did in Seattle. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the best player in baseball actually play well in the post-season.

    In New York, for good or ill, you’re judged differently. That’s a joyless fact. A-Rod’s been bad in the post-season with the Yanks and he’s never had a defining moment in the post-season that helped them win it all, like a Reggie Jackson…hell, like a Luis Sojo.

    The reason Yankee fans haven’t completely embraced him is because he’s come up small in the post-season—that’s it. There’s no apologizing for those 1 for 14’s and 2 for 15’s in the ALDS. Whether you’re name’s A-Rod or Hank Bauer, that’s lousy. But when you’re the No. 4 hitter, that’s especially tough to take.

    Of course, the fact that he’s a phony doesn’t help his status. Yankee fans don’t like a guy who tries to be bigger than the team and A-Rod has been guilty of that.

  52. No way.

    Past performance is a better predictor of future performance than past results.

    Jeter and Arod have very similar past playoff performances, its just the results of those performances that are drastically different.

    And their overall past baseball performance history screams that Jeter doesn’t even sniff A-Rod’s jock as a hitter.

  53. But it is a fallacy to say that because he has failed to hit in the post-season as a Yankee that he will always fail to hit in the post-season as a Yankee. I think he’s as good a bet as anyone to the the World Series MVP next year.

    These same arguments were made about Peyton Manning before he won the Super Bowl.

  54. While I agree with some of the points Dix makes about A-Rod, it’s not really fair to compare him to Justice. No one ever said Justice was the best player in baseball and he certainly didn’t have A-Rod’s notoriety (except for being married to Hallie Berry) or his contract. You would expect A-Rod to do more than David Justice. Of course, I am generally skeptical about the idea that in baseball a hitter can be “clutch” in the post-season. Was Mark Lemke really a great clutch hitter or did he just happen to have some hits in key situations in the playoffs and World Series? Still, I suspect A-Rod brings a lot of the problems on himself because he so obviously wants to be the “guy” in NY that he tries too hard. You can’t hit like that. I understand the feeling the A-Rod is “phony” but I think that’s in part because he wants to be liked by everyone. Aside from his adultery (something not confined to rich baseball players) which is really nobody’s business, he doesn’t seem to be such a bad guy, at least compared to others in baseball. How many times did Mickey Mantle play hungover? Isn’t that being bigger than the team?

  55. I brought up Justice to raise the question (which I then failed to ask):

    If A-Rod hits a world series winning homer, will he lose the ‘choker’ moniker once and for all, or will people call it a fluke because they’re predisposed to hating him and thinking he’s a choker?

    Peyton shed it, but I don’t get the sense that people loved to hate Peyton the way they do A-Rod.

    A guy like Justice who no one cares enough to have a preconceived notion about can go down in history as a clutch playoff performer on the strength of one swing out of a career of poor playoff performance.

    I have a feeling that if the Yankees win the WS, the public perception will be that they did it despite A-Rod, or the glory will be placed on Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira and probably Jeter even if A-Rod outperforms them in both the regular season and the playoffs.

    If Jeter scores the World Series winning run on an A-Rod homer who will the media shower with praise?

    If A-Rod scores the World Series winning run on a Jeter homer, who will the media shower with praise?

    I say Jeter both times.

  56. Dix,
    Why should Yankee fans care what he did in Seattle?

    Are they going to sit around and say, “Well, y’know, by the time A-Rod gets 400 post-season ABs, his numbers will look good & maybe we’ll have won a title?”

    The post-season doesn’t work like that. And it damn-sure isn’t viewed that way here.

    Look, his post-seas0n history here sucks. That’s a fact. Maybe he’ll break out & have a great one. After 15 years in the majors & plenty post-season suckitude, Barry Bonds did. (Insert joke.) But, rightly, A-Rod is judged on his actual performance here. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  57. I’m not saying Yankee fans should care what he did in Seattle.

    Intelligent baseball fans who are not Yankee fans ought to be able to appreciate A-rod though, that’s more the angle I’m getting at.

    A-Rod’s post-season history does not suck. It’s just not as good as A-Rod regular season.

    tiny sample sizes

    Andruw in 17 post-season series hits .273 .364 .433 with 10 homers.

  58. The biggest difference I see between A-Rod and others is that Jeter’s playoff stats are about the same as his career averages.

    But oh, guess what…

    He’s played in 123 playoff games a little over 75% of a regular season.

    A-Rod has played in 39 playoff games, or a little over a quarter of a full season.

    No wonder Jeter’s playoff stats have normalized to his career averages. He’s basically played a full season’s worth. And it’s also no wonder A-Rod’s stats aren’t aligned with his averages as he’s played a month and a half worth of games.

    Give A-Rod 100 more playoff games and I bet his numbers approach his career averages. I don’t care what Yankee fans think about A-Rod, they’re irrelevant and emotionally invested in him for better or worse. I’m surprised though at the perception of A-Rod as a player on this board.

  59. I remember Jeter hitting walk off home runs in November. If you want to be the star player, you have to hit in October.

  60. He sure didn’t do it by playing better baseball than A-Rod.

    Small sample sizes don’t do baseball discussions any favors. The only way to get Jeter as a better player than A-Rod is to pick small sample sizes.

  61. Total change of subject (that I’m sure has been addressed before… but a break from a-rod vs jeter is in order)… anybody tried the Braves wines? I’m not a wine drinker, but a friend gave me a bottle of the “Chipper Chardonnay” and I’m curious. Of course I googled for it and it looks like Chipper and Brian Schneider are both the same wine… and McCann and Santana are the same wine…I’m sure there’s a joke or an insult there somewhere.

  62. If you can’t see the joke inherent in “Chipper Chardonnay” then, as Obi-Wan would say, you are already lost.

  63. Its been awhile since we had some serious A-Rod bashing and predictably his defenders muster all sorts of statistical arguments to show that he is not a player that chokes.

    A-Fraud’s numbers in the post season are unimpressive–but I believe that the fact that the teams he plays for underperform is actually more interesting–and possibly more telling. Now, one cannot blame a team’s failures on one player (though many here like to do that with Frenchy), and it is not possible to fully measure a player’s impact upon an organization, but I find it rather striking that A-Rod’s teams have consistently underperformed.

    Torre’s book apparently talks about the way A-Rod changed the ‘feel of the team’. Basically, it looks to me that A-Rod has a negative impact on a team and organization. He has yet to win or even appear in the World Series. Maybe this will change, but it would not surprise me to see A-Rod put up good numbers and then see the Yanks stall out….

    A-Fraud is not a leader, but a priss and a jerk–and, yes, I think it matters to the teams he has played on…..

  64. I live in new england, I think we only have the Yukolis and Veritek wines. I wonder if I should buy a case of the veritek wine, and sell it in a few years, when he goes elsewhere.

  65. @85, I have a bottle of the “McCann Merlot” that my Dad gave me. I’m expecting it to be pretty bad. I’m not a wine snob, but my wife used to own a winery, so I’ve gotten used to drinking “good wine” when we do open a bottle.

    Maybe I’ll pop it on opening day…If it’s real bad I guess we could always cook with it. “McCann’s coq au vin”, lol.

  66. Dix, I didn’t say I couldn’t FIND a joke there, just that I was sure there was one to be made…. Sort of like picking out the pretty girl at the Ms America pageant, it wasn’t a matter of only finding one, it’s more a matter of picking just one.

    urlhix I finally found something resembling a review of the wines and supposedly they’re ok/generic California wines… not great not horrible (though supposedly the Glavinon Blanc is the weakest of the three).

  67. Well parish… depends on how you value them :D.

    The review (I think it was actually on ESPN and had the ESPN guy’s comments, plus an actual wine critic’s comments) said he expects most people to put them on the shelf beside a bobble head, but that they were better than that. So, if you actually want to drink it (and after ’08 I’ve contemplated a drinking habit), the value is in the wine and you can save the bottle… if you don’t really want to drink it then the collectible value is probably increased by the wine still being in the bottle.

  68. Even if he did say it, if it’s the truth, what’s so bad?

    Seriously? Do you go around making public every true statement that pops into your head? What’s so bad is that it’s utterly classless. As I implied, I would have expected more from Torre.

    Count me with Dix, Adam M, and Rob Cope on the A-Rod issue. Count me as believing Smitty’s arguments are by far the most nonsensical.

  69. I have seen Jeter carry a team. ARod, not so much. When it matters Jeter is a better player.

    Dan Marino put up the numbers, Montana and Elway have the rings.

  70. @97,

    Stu,

    I don’t see the big deal unless he made it up. Jim Bouton did the same thing in “Ball Four” and that is considered a classic. He didn’t say A-Rod was a murderer. If the idea is that he shouldn’t divulge clubhouse dynamics, that may be an issue for his current employers but if you don’t want to be portrayed as a jerk, don’t act like a jerk. I don’t have anything against A-Rod but I don’t see why he should be insulated from criticism. Plus, as I said before,I suspect that much of this is being taken out of context.

  71. The way Yankee fans view A-Rod’s post-season is the way I view Gary Sheffield’s post-seasons with the Braves.

    He sucked in those 2 NLDS series in ’02 and ’03. I’m not interested in what he did with other teams. I’m not interested what his career numbers are. He was 3 for 30 & we lost both series. My evaluation of his post-season performance: He was a failure on a team that failed.

    Discussing sample sizes in evaluating post-season performance is goofy. The stakes being as high as they are and the competition being better are what make it interesting in the first place. A walk-off HR in April is never going to equal the same act in the post-season.

    Also, Jeter has been a better post-season player than A-Rod. His numbers are better and his teams have won. Why is that so difficult to swallow?

    And just for fun, while we’re touching ourselves over the notion of sample sizes, let’s look at Jeter’s first 23 post-season games with the Yankees (same as A-Rod):

    322/388/462.

  72. Marc,
    I never said A-Rod should be insulated from criticism. And I can’t imagine a context in which bringing up the A-Fraud thing would not be classless.

  73. I’m not saying anything about how Yankees fans view A-Rod. I’m saying I think that any one of us Braves fans who would take Jeter over A-Rod at any time for any game, ever, is making a big mistake.

  74. @98,

    Smitty,

    As a former Miami resident that saw Marino play, I just have to respond to the implied knock on Marino. Montana and Elway both played on much better teams. Marino took a very flawed team (poor to non-existent running game, lousy kicker, mediocre defense)in 1984 to the Super Bowl and lost to one of the best teams of all time. After that, the Dolphins sucked for most of his tenure. And, people were saying the same thing about Elway until he won those two rings at the end of his career, incidentally featuring Terrell Davis. Put Marino on those 49er teams and I think they still win Super Bowls; put Montana on those Dolphin teams and he wouldn’t have any rings.

  75. Hold on, let’s not start bad-mouthing Dan Marino here.

    I’m sure A-Rod really sits around worrying whether he’s the most liked guy in the club house, or even in NYC, while he’s cashing his $170,000 check after each game.

  76. I think he is a sensitive guy. I mean that is fine and all.

    I feel bad about the Marino remark. I remember when my boy Peyton was getting down the road about not winning a big game (though he had.)

  77. Greinke: 4 years 37 million. Dayton’s made some weird moves this offseason (Farnsworth 2 @ 9MM) but this is solid.

  78. Greinke at $37 for the next 4 years is more than solid, it’s fantastic. He’s a hell of a ballplayer.

    Quick thought I had: I really like our minor league depth in pitching, especially with several of the 2008 guys looking really good and the breakout of Randall Delgado, but I don’t trust our minor league position depth. Beyond Schafer, Heyward, Freeman, and to some extent Gorky, I don’t like our position prospects nearly as much. Hicks? Campbell?

    Are there some really solid position players in our system I’m missing?

  79. Smitty –

    You say that Jeter is the reason the Yankees made the postseason and that’s why he had such a large sample size. I say the teams’ pitching took them to the postseason, and that is why. Sure he performed when they got there, but he isn’t the reason they were there. Now look back 2 years, and A-Rod IS THE reason the Yanks made the postseason. A-Rod is without a doubt the best ballplayer in the game (maybe a little doubt with Pujols) and may go down as the best ever. We may not like him, but that does not take away from what he is. Give him more at bats and he will get towards his career numbers.

  80. Did I just read someone say that Sheffield sucked in the postseason for us? I’m sure that you recall that in one of those years he was playing with an injury to his hand. I assume that if he sat out hurt that you would have considered him lazy.

  81. #119
    Don’t assume. I would’ve said that Sheffield was hurt. And at this point, I sure wish he’d sat out—injured or healthy.

    In one series, he was 1/16.

    In the other, he was 2/14.

    Take your pick at which series you’ll offer the injury excuse/explanation.

    I’ll offer my favorite Tommy Lee Jones film quote: “I…don’t care.” If you’re too hurt to play, then don’t play; but if you do, you’re responsible for your performance.

  82. What do Pettitte Clemens Mussina Cone Wells Rogers Wettland and Rivera have to do with the Yankees success?

    They were all riding Jeter’s coat tails.

    Why didn’t Giambi slide? Because Jeter willed him not to.

  83. It’s up to the manager to decide if someone is too hurt to play. Anyone who actually tells his manager he’s too banged up to go in the playoffs would get destroyed for it. Ask Manny about that.

  84. Outfield a question mark for Braves
    Francoeur locked in right, but two spots empty as spring nears

    http://tinyurl.com/ddfrh3

    Yes, but WHY is Francoeur locked in right? Would it really hurt to at least make Francoeur think his spot is up for grabs, to say Brandon Jones, and make him hopefully try harder to keep it?

  85. @124 – Then he’d just cry and say he was being treated unfairly.

    Oops, guess I should’ve chosen my words more carefully, some of you guys don’t like references to this guy crying.

  86. Gottfried relied on two things: A great point guard and a very good defensive coach. When he had neither he was in huge trouble – see the last 2 seasons for an example. Gottfried’s offenses seemed to have very little imagination except for the point guard to penetrate and dish it off. This worked okay with Mo Williams or Ron Steele when he was healthy.

    TR Dunn was the only great defensive coach Gottftried had and he’s my choice to replace him.

  87. TR Dunn is one of my favorite Bama players of all time. Great defender, great hair.

    And that ’76 Alabama squad was one of the best SEC teams I ever saw—Dunn, Leon Douglas, Reggie King, Anthony Murray, Keith McCord.

    In the NCAA tourney, they had a late-game lead on that great undefeated Indiana team, but missed free throws & put backs in the last couple minutes & lost by a few points.

  88. ububba – Those teams were awesome. If they could have shot 70% from the line they would have probably won several more games in the regular season and made it to the Final Four. Mule King was my favorite, but they could all play.

  89. @123

    To play hurt is one thing; however, if a player is injured, it’s stupid to try to play, regardless whether a manager pulls you or not.

    RE Arod: I don’t think the guy is necessarily a choke job. However, my view on him has always been that he is probably the best bad ball hitter in the game. If a pitcher makes a mistake, he generally doesn’t miss it. However, I’ve noticed that good pitchers will get him out consistently. This hardly makes him unique though. Generally in the playoffs one sees “good” pitchers much more frequently than in the regular season. IMO, this explains a lot of his struggles.

    Still don’t think he’s worth the contract though.

  90. ububba – in one of our rare disagreements, without A-Rod, the Yankees don’t even get to the post season for some of those years. In the postseason against Boston in 04, A-Rod was killing the ball while The Captain shriveled – let’s be fair. I’d say that A-Rod, has been an MVP caliber player for every year he’s been in NY, and won it twice. Doesn’t sound like much of a NY choker to me. How the F is he a reason the Yankees don’t have a title during his tenure? I ma pretty confident he isn’t somebody I would personally get on with, but he has been one of the great baseball players of all time, maybe even arguably the greatest, considering his position.

  91. Whoa. Sorry guys I joined this thread late but just saw Dix’s comment @ 100…Elway was carried by his teams to his championships. Wow.

    I know this isn’t a football site and I am no Bronco fan, but you want to talk about a guy carried by his team to championships, look at Joe Montana. No one took nothing teams farther than John Elway. He was hardly carried.

  92. “And just for fun, while we’re touching ourselves over the notion of sample sizes…”

    Ah yes, the sexualization of sample sizes. And not only that: the implication that those who use numbers in context are–by virtue of bringing up said context–stimulated by the very activity. Very nice.

  93. Spike,
    A post-season choker in Pinstripes. That’s my only contention and one supported by the facts.

    Why? A different level of pressure? Dunno. But, from my seat, it’s sure fun to watch.

    BTW, Jeter’s Yankee post-season numbers are fairly unimpeachable. You’re talking about a guy who, in 26 PS series, has hit over .300 16 times, has had on OBP over .375 16 times, has had an OPS over .900 11 times. He’s won a WS MVP & has been a big part of 6 pennants & 4 WS titles.

    His biggest failure was the 4 for 27 in the ’01 WS. That’s the one that stands out the most, but his successes are almost too numerous to list.

  94. @121

    Quoting Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t provide cover for a poor argument. If you really want to call a guy out for
    a. not hitting well with an injured hand that was caused by being hit in said hand with a pitch and b. not performing well in a another cherry-picked 16 at bat sample size, be my guest. Don’t expect to get much traction with that from anyone that knows anything about baseball, though. :)

  95. I didn’t say Elway didnt’ carry his teams. For over a decade he carried that Bronco’s team and even to the Super Bowl. However, when they won the title in his final two years, the team was carrying him.

    I love Elway and fully appreciate his talents, but he only carried the team to Super Bowl losses, his team carried him to Super Bowl victories.

    I only said that because people were using championship wins to determine the worth of a player. I think that’s stupid, but it was happening.

  96. In 3 of 6 postseason series with the Yankees Arod has outhit Jeter. So who spits the bit again?

    2004 ALDS

    AROD – .421 .476 .737
    Capt Intangible – .316 .350 .526

    2004 ALCS

    A – .258 .378 .516
    C – 200 .333 .233

    2007 ALDS

    A – .267 .353 .467
    C – .176 .176 .176

  97. @139 Dix I hear what you are saying, but I’d still say Elway was not carried. That’s like saying anyone could have won with that team. Kordell Stewart? Steve Buerlein? In the latter half of the 90’s when Marino was already a statue, does he win 2 titles with that team? I’m not so sure. You act like Elway didn’t have to make plays to win those championships…he was still one of the 5 or so best qbs in the league even at that age. I’m not quibbling with your A-rod argument, but I do take exception to anyone saying Elway was carried at any point in his career. IMO the best qb in my lifetime.

    Again sorry guys didn’t mean to veer off course of the real discussion here.

  98. anyone get the feeling that outside of offering a deal to Ohman and maybe Glavine that we are done? Im guessing the Braves will use Blanco, Frenchy, Schafer, Anderson, Diaz, and Brandon Jones to find our 4 OF spots

  99. I think we’ll get another OF, csg, I really do. Still hoping for Swisher, Dye, or Ludwick (without giving up KJ or Gonzo).

  100. Alright fine, but when Elway won it was when the team around him was the best it had been.

    Same with Jeter.

  101. I agree Stu, doesnt it seem that signing Lowe would be a waste if we didnt upgrade our offense? We didnt sign him to be the ace of the future, he is here to win now. I dont think this team is capable of winning now until it gets a good bat.

  102. @ 144 – agreed

    And if we don’t get another outfielder not named Andruw, Wren gets a fat D grade for the offseason.

  103. Mr Swings,
    You wanna give a pass to a guy who got 3 hits in his only 30 ABs in his Atlanta post-season history, go ahead.

    I’m not cherrypicking his results—3/30 is the totality of his PS results in an Atlanta uniform. I’m not interested in what he did for the Marlins in 1997.

    I’ll just say that he went 3/30 and Atlanta lost both series. We didn’t have the luxury to wait until the sample size got bigger because he certainly contributed to those 2 NLDS defeats.

    Spike,
    The Yankee post-season difference between A-Rod & Jeter is pretty stark.

    One guy has achieved his lifetime numbers on the sport’s biggest stage against the best teams & won a lot; the other guy, in his time here, has fallen woefully short of acceptable numbers, forget his lofty regular-season standards, and not won much.

    As inconvenient as it may be for some to actually hold otherwise good players accountable for their PS failures, that’s how the post-season works. When you play well, you deserve the glory; when you don’t, you can take the heat.

  104. I wonder if Clemens plans to sue Radomski this time…

    In his new book – He was a Mets clubhouse boy from 1986-95 and says he directly or indirectly sold steroids or human growth hormone to “maybe two, three hundred” former or current baseball players, including Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, David Justice and Miguel Tejada.

  105. “A post-season choker in Pinstripes. That’s my only contention and one supported by the facts.”

    Facing the same pitchers in the same playoffs on the same team:
    Teammate A’s postseason line 245/393/436
    Teammate B’s Postseason line 291/378/446

    Who’s the pinstriped choker?

  106. Joshua

    I didn’t say Jeter was THE reason the Yankees made the playoffs. ARod is a great player, he puts up huge numbers. What I am saying is that if the game were on the line I would rather have Jeter at the plate way before ARod. I bet if we took a poll of Boston Red Soxs fans or any other AL team, I bet we would hear the same.

    Jeter plays hard all the time. He is consistant and comes up with the hits when it matters. You hear and see different from ARod. There is a reason that he is the captain of the Yankees and not ARod and it has nothing to do with the amount of time he has been on the team.

  107. Sorry Smitty – didn’t mean to change your words around. This is what you said:

    Plus Jeter helped lead his team to 123 playoff games. ARod has not.

    To that, I think my point still stands. ARod helped lead the Yanks to the postseason more than Jeter EVER did. Jeter had loads of pitching to make those teams great. But 2 years ago ARod put that Yankee team on his back and got them there. It was too apparent that it was him that got them there when they couldn’t succeed when he didn’t play at the same level. In fact, they sucked.

    And sure, I guess if you need a single, you might take Jeter. But if you had 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th and you’re down a run, you’d be crazy to take Jeter over A-Rod (and I don’t care what their postseason numbers show). ARod is simply a much more dangerous hitter that can hurt you in MANY more ways than Jeter ever could. But don’t get me wrong – I think Jeter is a superb baseball player, but he is nowhere near what ARod is.

  108. I’ll put it this way: Jeter will never be considered in the group of greatest to ever play the game. ARod most certainly will. Too bad the guy is an ass-clown.

  109. This morning I am just seeing the day’s posts and I am happy to say that I agree with smitty and ububba.

    If the game were on the line–especially a playoff or World Series game–I would take Jeter over A-Rod every time….

  110. Personally, I look forward to the day when they’re both gone from the scene, because I can’t stand either one of them. Not because they’re offensive to me, but because they’ve both been argued about to death and back again. He’s a paragon — no, he’s overrated. He’s the best ever — no, not when the chips are down. No offense meant to any of today’s debate participants, but everybody made up their minds about both of them years ago. It’s like arguing religion at this point.

  111. LOL. I guess I’m the crazy one. Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time. But I’d still take ARod.

  112. Neat Ohman sidebar over at the AJC. Hope the offer sticks and we keep him. I’m looking forward to seeing what will bear fruit over the next few weeks. Surely we aren’t done just yet…

  113. @141: Thank you… I was really worried I would be the only one to find the absurdity of Dix’s comment @100.

    While Terrell Davis and Mike Shanahan/Alex Gibb’s mechanical offense played a large role in those Super Bowl Championships, Elway was the unquestioned leader on that team, and in NO WAY was carried.

    I’m not sure there has ever been a QB that was carried to a Super Bowl, except maybe Trent Dilfer, and possibly Terry Bradshaw (but that was before my time, so I wouldn’t make a judgment.)

  114. I am in France for one more day. It’s kinda yucky weather, but I am right on the Seine, and you really can get something good to eat around here

    As far as my last, you said your premise was pinstriped choker in the playoffs. I was comparing the “choker’s” pinstriped performance against Capt Never Does Wrong over the same period, and simply letting them speak for themslves. I never said EITHER player was a pintriped choker.

  115. Speaking of Japanese players:

    About 4 years ago the Braves signed a Japanese catcher direct out of high school. He was 18 and 6 foot 1 or 2 and about 200 pounds. There was a quirk about his high school stopping baseball that made him eligible to sign outside the Japanese system. He went to Australia to play in an instructional league that plays during their summer.

    Does anybody know where he is now?

  116. The team was different when the Broncos finally won. In the early Super Bowls, Elway was the team and the only reason they made it. Somehow people blamed him for losing those games to vastly superior teams. When they had good teams, he won; Elway was still the leader but less dominant. It was the opposite with Terry Bradshaw; in the early years, the Steelers were really carried by the defense and running game, but later, as the team aged, Bradshaw was more important.

    @164,

    Yeah, and what about that 1939 season? Gehrig did nothing to help the Yankees win. He even hit less than A-Rod. :)

  117. Too soon, Marc!

    I didn’t mean to cut off any discussion — I held my tongue until it looked like it was dying down. I ain’t no board cop, never wanted to be one.

  118. It wasn’t absurd at all. Elway was the emotional leader of those teams but he was not even close to the best player on the team at that time, like Marino was for every single season he played football. I always loved Elway and wanted him to win those titles but at that point in his career he wasn’t capable of carrying a team farther than it was otherwise talented enough to go. Early in his career he could definitely do that.

    Those superbowl Bronco teams were worthy superbowl champs, and Elway was a big part of that. I’m not saying they won despite him.

    As it applied to Jeter my point was that Jeter hasn’t carried anyone ever, because when his teams won, they were teams that didn’t need to be carried. He won with excellent teammates.

    Some players in history truly carry their teams much farther than they have any business going. Michael Jordan did it every single season. Dan Marino did it almost every year until he got real old. It is so incredibly rare though to find instances where one player does it consistently.

    The point I wanted to make about Elway was that he didn’t win it all except when the team around him was the best it had ever been. Elway was carrying his team for years, but not the superbowl seasons. Jeter is the same way, he hasn’t won anything at all since the team around him declined. That means he hasn’t ever carried the Yankees.

    Of course, in baseball its much harder for one player to carry a team than in football. Still though, A-Rod consistently puts up better numbers than all of his teammates. If anyone is carrying a team farther than they could otherwise go, it’s A-Rod.

  119. Those Broncos teams were a perfect mix. Elway was still really good and had the experience neeeeded to win those Super Bowls.

  120. Question for all: If the money would be equal, Beimel or Ohman?

    Ohman’s better on lefties, but Beimel had a better overall year.

    If I knew Moylan, Soriano, and Gonzalez would all be 100%, probably Ohman. However, with the injury risk that they all have, Beimel would probably be better suited for a regular 7th/8th/9th inning role.

    Though Ohman was overworked last year and was lights out till the last month +.

    Probably Beimel, but not sure.

  121. Ok I’ll concede it, Elway wasn’t carried by his teams to those titles. I looked up some stats and it doesnt support what I said.

    However, I still stand by the comparison to Jeter. Elway only won it all when his team was at its best and so did Jeter, and that is true despite the fact that Elway was a much better football player than Jeter is/was a baseball player.

    Elway actually did carry his teams for many years, just not all the way to the pinnacle. Jeter never carried his team anywhere. Hardly anyone has ever carried their team to a title. Far fewer have done it repeatedly.

  122. Well Elway is without a doubt one of the top five QB’s of all time.

    I like Ohman and hope we get him back, but I reall would like about three outfielders first

  123. Don’t know if it’ll work right… but Schaefer doesn’t look like an elf in this picture:

    I remember the first three or for pics of him (and I think the one still used on the minor league stuff) being very elfin… I expected him to bake me cookies or start stabbing orcs.

  124. Oh, and based on some interviews with Ohman I’d seen on TV, and that sidebar, I’d like him back just because he seems like a fun guy to have around (not to discount that he’s a pretty good pitcher… until his arm falls off because you’ve run him out there every day for 6 months).

  125. My Top Ten QB’s

    1) Elway
    2) Montana
    3) Marino
    4) Manning/ Brady*
    6) Johnny U
    7) Young
    8 Aikman
    9) Favre
    10) Bradshaw

    * Manning and Brady are tied because they both have a lot of football left to play and have both had great carrers. I don’t think it is fair to judge them until the end. I am a Manning guy and before this season I would have put Brady a head of Manning, but becasue of missing a year and Peyton being MVP, it was just easier.

  126. Off the top of my head:

    1. Montana
    2. Unitas
    3. Elway
    4. Manning
    5. Favre

    That’s based on no forethought and zero research, so I’m not sure I even agree with myself. Except for Montana at #1. That I’m sure of.

    And, see — I forgot Brady.

    1. Montana
    2. Unitas
    3. Brady
    4. Elway
    5. Manning

  127. I’m expecting our bullpen to be better this year simply because our starters will go deeper. I wonder how many pitchers Cox will still be able to overuse. Anyone up for a poll on when Boyer will blow his arm out?

  128. I was never a Marino guy. To begin with, he never had a chance with me because of the ’82 Sugar Bowl, so I admit my judgment is clouded. But it always bugged me how he would absolutely drill his short passes, then glower at the receiver if he dropped it. Then Dierdorf would start laughing and say something like “when a receiver comes to Miami, they know the ball will be coming hard, so they’d better be ready.” He also had the best pass-blocking line in history, so he never got sacked despite the fact that he couldn’t move at all. But he had one hell of an arm, and threw the ball where he meant it to go.

  129. Dix, I know this internet thing can be susceptible to speaking in haste, so I’m glad you noticed your error, and you certainly make a good comparison between Elway and Jeter. I apologize if I missed your original point, I had just flown back across the country, and didn’t bother to read the entire thread, just noticed the shorter comment.

    @173: Thanks for the bit on Bradshaw, Mr. Schneider. I can’t stand him on TV, I knew he had an insane defense behing him, and I figured with 4 rings it was likely he might have been carried to one of them, I certainly didn’t think he’d been carried to all 4.

    As for top 5 QBs of all-time, in no particular order (*and this is taking into account the entire position, leadership included, not just who has an insane arm, and can throw the ball around the yard all day):

    John Elway
    Steve Young
    Sammy Baugh (the guy’s all-around game was incomparable)
    Joe Montana
    Johnny Unitas

    If it’s just by numbers:

    Dan Marino
    Brett Favre
    Peyton Manning
    John Elway
    Steve Young

    But I’m mostly pulling these out of my ass… and to preempt nit-picking, I won’t include Brady in the 1st category until he succeeds on a team that isn’t stacked. Also, Manning probably deserves to be in the 1st group, and I’m sure cases can be made for a half dozen others too.

  130. @189: Why’d you have to show me that… I just got outta the shower, and now I’m going to have to change my shorts…

  131. He also had the best pass-blocking line in history, so he never got sacked despite the fact that he couldn’t move at all.

    That is patently untrue. Marino was not mobile, but he was very adept at side stepping, hesitating, or moving a foot or two to avoid a sack. His pocket presence is second to none.

  132. I don’t understand not liking a player just because he beat your favorite team. What’s he supposed to do, try to lose? I remember that Sugar Bowl and Georgia made a fatal mistake trying to blitz Marino on the final play. And having seen him play for many years, I wouldn’t say he had teh best pass-blocking line in history; it was good but Marino had a lot to do with it. In any event, the line couldn’t run block for anything.

    Re top quarterbacks. It’s almost impossible to compare from different eras because the game has changed so much–rules on pass blocking, pass interference, etc. I’m old enough that Johnny U was my hero growing up, not just for his passing but because he actually ran the team, something that is really impossible now. It’s impossible to know how, say, Joe Montana would fare throwing against bump and run coverage like they had in the 70s or, for that matter, how Unitas would fare against the complex defenses they have today.

  133. Stu @ 189: Me too. I went home last night and told my wife that I’d found something to make me stop playing Civilization, she stopped in her tracks, gave me the same look she has when someone dies in a terrible accident, just an empathetic sadness.

    Ohman: From DOB’s bit. He likes all the right movies, though he should replace Fletch with Caddyshack and he left out MST3K:

    “In the meantime, in light of our weekend blog discussion about movies, and knowing his passion for all things Lebowski, I asked Ohman if he wanted to a favorite-movie list. I told him don’t give us what you believe to be the best movies ever made, but rather, the ones you’ve enjoyed the most.

    It didn’t take him long to get back to me:

    “I had to divide it,” Ohman said, “based on the fact you can’t say the greatest five movies for you are all comedies, or you’d be typecasting yourself. It’d be like saying drama is the only genre. So I divided it like this.

    “The top four comedies were easy — The Big Lebowski, Dogma, Blazing Saddles, Fletch. And No. 5 was a tie, just due to difference in styles — High Fidelity and Snatch. They’re both dark comedies, but I love British humor, so Snatch had to be in there.

    “Then I had the category of ‘other,’ and I went with Glory, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Fight Club, The Departed, and then I had a three-way problem — Tombstone, The Untouchdables, and The Boondock Saints, which is a great movie I bet you haven’t seen.

    “Then for honorable mention, have Kentucky Fried Movie, Life of Brian, Office Space, Princess Bride, Vision Quest, In The Name of the Father, Zoolander, Dumb and Dumber, and Anchorman. Oh, and one more, PCU, with Jeremy Piven before he was big.”

    (Have I mentioned the Braves need to re-sign this guy?)”

  134. Marino was superhuman in the pocket — he knew where pressure was coming from, when to make the small move to avoid a sack, and his decision-to-release time was faster than any quarterback I’ve ever seen. He could make a mediocre O-line look like a pack of Pro Bowlers. He also ran fine earlier in his career — until he had the serious achilles injury.

  135. “Frenchy is going to hit cleanup for us this year,” [Chipper] Jones said with a sense of confidence earlier this month.

    what’s the over/under for games Frenchy hits clean-up? 5?

  136. what’s the over/under for games Frenchy hits clean-up? 5?

    I’m thinking we will face more than 5 lefties during the season.

  137. My top five QBs based on nothing other than the fact they won (and in no particular order):

    1. Bart Starr (dedicated to Mac)
    2. Terry Bradshaw
    3. Joe Montana
    4. John Elway
    5. Tom Brady

    Now, can we get an outfield bat or two, please?

    Edit: I guess Otto Graham ought to be in there somewhere, even if most of his professional winning wasn’t necessarily in the NFL. I’m too lazy to look up his or anyone’s NFL records.

  138. Well, if we don’t see a vastly improved Frenchy… does that mean Diaz may be batting clean-up against lefties? Who else do we have that can hit lefties? (McCann is surprisingly not nearly as good against lefties, and Kotchman has all his average against lefties, but all his power against right handed pitching… weird).

  139. I’m thinking we will face more than 5 lefties during the season.

    I think you’re underestimating how god awful Frenchy was against the world last year. LHP or RHP, he should never hit clean-up. EVER.

  140. I don’t understand not liking a player just because he beat your favorite team.

    You don’t? You might as well say you don’t understand why people are sports fans. What should I base not liking a player on, his political views? I was 15 years old and he beat my team for the national championship. What was I supposed to do, appreciate him? I’m admitting it’s not rational, but I’m willing to admit it.

    I know I’m giving short shrift to his ability to avoid sacks, but you don’t lead the league every year in the category without a great deal of help from your offensive line. And I happen to think he got a lot of credit as a leader because he was quite visibly a red-ass, when I think that was often a detriment.

    Winning pct. of the QBs I named:

    Brady .782
    Montana .713
    Manning .656
    Unitas .654
    Elway .643
    ——
    Marino .612

  141. I think you’re underestimating our manager’s loyalties. If Frenchy hits anything resembling a long fly ball in ST, Bobby will throw him out there to flail about, at least through May.

    And I never said how often he *should* be hitting cleanup…

  142. Not that anyone cares, but my top 5 movies:

    1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
    2. Independence Day
    3. Se7en
    4. Terminator 2
    5. Ocean’s 11 or Jurassic Park or The Rock.

    I guess my ‘guilty pleasure’ would be Armageddon. I know its totally over the top and so ridiculously unbelievable, but I still love it.

  143. I’d MUCH rather us be doing a top 5 movie theme than an A-Rod vs Jeter discussion (even though THAT beats the crap out of any football talk for me).

    Top 5 Movies (or series because I’m cheap like that):
    1) Monty Python’s Holy Grail (though the other Python’s I enjoy greatly too)
    2) Star Wars (4-6, but if I had to choose one it would be Empire)
    3) The Princess Bride
    4) Indiana Jones (either Raiders or Grail if I have to chose)
    5) Office Space

    Honorable mentions go to the LOTR movies, Shawshank Redemption, Tombstone, Kevin Smith’s Jersey “trilogy”, Trainspotting, Clockwork Orange, The Goonies, the entire Miyazaki collection (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc), and everything Pixar has done (particularly the Brad Bird ones). Probably a nod to Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman Begins too.

    I also enjoyed PCU that Ohman mentioned but nobody else ever talks about (though I wouldn’t classify it as one of my favorites).

  144. Elway
    Montana
    Brady
    Marino
    Manning

    This is of my lifetime. I have no frame of reference with Unitas, Starr, Bradshaw, Baugh, etc.

  145. I’m a movie guy…can’t resist. I’ll only give 4 because #5-#50 could probably be in any order.

    4.) Oh Brother Where Art Thou
    3.) Godfather 2
    2.) Godfather
    1.) Big Lebowski

  146. ah Crap, I forgot to put O Brother on my list… at least in honorable mentions. Oh, and something in theme. Eight Men Out with John Cusack is one I love as well. For that matter I liked High Fidelity and loved Grosse Pointe Blank.

  147. PCU was great. A young Piven and also a very young Favreau. Sorry for the deluge of posts but sports and movies comprise approximately 85% of my life.

  148. Guys, come on. It’s *O* Brother, and the only thing better than the movie is the soundtrack.

    My fave movies, in no particular order: Shawshank, Fletch, and Rushmore.

  149. Stand corrected Stu…you are right on. Evidently I have yet to fully recover from a sleepless weekend.

  150. Too many movies to rank–but I will be happy to say that last weekend my wife and I went to “Slumdog Millionaire” and it is a great picture which I heartily recommend….

  151. Put me down for the bipolar double feature of It’s A Wonderful Life and Taxi Driver.

    As for this year’s crop:

    1. The Wrestler
    2. Milk
    3. Iron Man
    4. Gran Torino
    5. Dark Knight

    I also liked In Bruges, WALL-E, and My Winnipeg. And Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express were both exactly what I wanted them to be. Haven’t seen Slumdog yet, but will.

  152. Aside from last years team, which failed to win it all, Brady’s teams were decidedly unstacked.

    Defensively they were very good, but Brady has won pretty much with whatever supporting cast they give him, and it’s usually a worse supporting cast than what Manning gets.

    What Brady does with NE is Jordan-esque. It doesn’t matter who you give him, he makes them better and wins with them. Take away his #1 receiver, he still does well. Take that receiver away the next season, and he still does well. Brady’s teammates don’t make him better, it’s the other way around. And then when you do give him a superstar to play with, they reach an even higher level of achievement.

    I’m not taking anything away from Manning who is just as good or better than Brady. But, what makes Manning good is not the same thing as what makes Brady good. Brady wouldn’t put up Mannings numbers if he had the Colts’ offensive players or scheme, but neither would Manning put up the numbers Brady does with the Pats supporting cast. Both players win though.

    I cant think of anyone else to compare to but Jordan. Michael Jordan in basketball was basically what you’d get in football if you combined the things that make Manning great with the things that make Brady great. Brady’s teammates play up because of him, and Manning is just more skilled, and talented than everyone else.

  153. Sansho, I saw In Bruges on a plane and thought it was mesmerizing

  154. Slumdog is the best movie of the year in my opinion. Best movie of the last few years, actually.

  155. It’s near impossible to compare basketball players and football players. Jordan had a direct impact on nearly every play of a game…he and Ali are the best athletes I’ve ever seen.

    Brady is great, but there are too many variables in football i.e. coaching, defense, injuries, etc. Individual players just have a different impact on the game. It’s apples and oranges to compare the two sports.

    Still, I agree with the core of your point about Brady. He strikes me as a supreme douche, but man he is an excellent quarterback.

  156. Jordan is the best athlete in the history of sports. Everyone else is playing for second

    1. Tombstone
    2. Inside Man
    3. Rocky III
    4. Raiders of the Lost Arc
    5. Braveheart

  157. It’s funny, because the things about him that you think make him a douche are probably the exact reasons why I like him so much better than I like Manning. That, and Brady was the QB while I was at Michigan.

    If I had to swap lives with either Manning or Brady it’s not even close, I’d much rather have Tom Brady f*ck my wife than Peyton Manning.

  158. Interestingly (or not) HTW, an Indian acquaintance didn’t care for Slumdog much at all, and apparently he’s not alone in that opinion amongst his historical countrymen. Some are just unhappy with the portrayal of the slums, but some (acquaintance included) just feel it’s a re-hashing of things done repeatedly in Bollywood which make it (to slaughter a word) less unique. I’ve not seen it, but a friend (who saw it with our Indian acquaintance) thought the view may not be fair to the film because the marriage of the Bollywood style with a functionally western film may not click for an audience steeped in the bollywood tradition.

  159. I’d much rather have Tom Brady f*ck my wife than Peyton Manning.

    He probably wouldn’t do that to Peyton, so you’re safe in that regard.

  160. Milk was the best film of a very weak year in film. Dark Knight and Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead would rank somewhere in my top 5. Benjamin Button was brilliantly made, but the story and acting by Brad Pitt was too bland for words. I haven’t seen Slumdog or The Wrestler. In Bruges was great. Loved the portrayal of the loud and fat American tourists.

  161. @ 225, that’s exactly right. I’m in the whole US filmmaking world out here and actually saw the film for the first time with an Indian acquaintance, and when it was over she wanted to stay and watch the next showing. So in the end I guess it depends on the person, but it’s hard for me to believe someone watched that movie objectively and didn’t care for it. I do know other Indian filmmakers who claim they didn’t like it, but from what I know of them they are largely jealous that their own films set in India did not achieve such worldwide acclaim.

    @ 224, funny, because I’m not a Manning guy either. If I had to choose one to be my QB for a game, it would be Brady. If I could steal one of their lives, it would Brady. If I could hang out a grab a beer with one, I’d just stay home.

  162. @ 227, if you haven’t seen Slumdog or Wrestler, you haven’t seen arguably the two best films of the year. I actually think this is one of the strongest years for film in some time.

    PS I also didn’t love Forrest Gump 2 aka Benjamin Buttons.

  163. Taking into account my limited knowledge of Indian culture (and the fact that I haven’t seen the movie), it’s my guess that a portrayal of someone subverting the caste system might be viewed a little differently by those who grew up in it. But I wouldn’t presume to speak for anybody in particular.

  164. I think Manning is probably a pretty funny guy. I know he doesn’t write the jokes in his commercials, but he at least has the sense of humor to pull them off and appreciate what he’s doing.

    I’m not sure any other QB could pull off the “here we go insurance adjuster here we go!” chant or the mustache disguise.

    Any time someone like that has an appreciation for self-depcrecating humor I can be a fan of the person, even if I’m not a fan of the player.

    @226 – good call, but that’s the direction it’d probably go if they were going to be intimate.

  165. I haven’t seen “In Bruges”, but I have been in Bruges (more properly Brugge as it is a Flemish town, not French speaking). And, it is a fabulous place of 14th and 15th century brick buildings and canals (and almost nothing built since 1600).

  166. running with Dix’ point at 224,

    I had a female coworker who usually wasn’t too blunt about off color things. However, she repeated what she had heard in some sort of ocntest on TV among women. The interviewer asked about what was the best pick up line they had heard. One interviewee said her best ever heard was “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.”

    The interviewer said something like “there wasn’t anymore to it than that?”.

    Then the interviewee said, “Well, it worked on me.”

  167. Living in the UAE I come into a large Indian expat population. Many of them don’t regard it as a Bollywood production; rather it is India through the eyes of the British and this view makes a lot of sense to me.

    Still, a great film….

  168. @229

    Ratatouille
    No Country for Old Men
    Zodiac
    Lars and the Real Girl
    There Will Be Blood
    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
    Into the Wild
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    The Lives of Others

    Those are just off the top of my head. Lotta fun films like Superbad, Knocked Up and Juno as well. 2007 destroys 2008 in terms of quality of films made.

  169. Liked Slumdog a lot. I actually thought The Wrestler was only average at best. Pretty overrated for me. Loved The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Doubt, The Reader and Redbelt.

    Still need to see Milk and Ben Button before our annual Oscar Party.

  170. @ 237

    The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Milk, Frost/Nixon, Pineapple Express, Frozen River, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Iron Man…

    I think it’s way closer than you make it out to be, but at the end of the day opinion is opinion.

  171. I’d go with The Wrestler as the best movie I’ve seen that was released in 2008, but I enjoyed Slumdog Milliionaire and Burn After Reading quite a bit as well. I feel like Burn After Reading will be one of those movies like Lebowski (though nowhere near as good) that will age very well.

  172. Don’t forget, Jordan didn’t win until he got Scottie Pippen (and Will Perdue :)) on his team.

    LOTR movies are the best ever, in my book. I am not even sure what is close to them.

  173. LOTR is so polarizing though. You either love them or despise them. I enjoyed them, but by the same token I understand when people get nauseous at their mere mention. I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to sit through 9 hours of homoeroticism between hobbits, resulting in a anticlimactic toss of a ring into a pit and the overkill of 7 endings.

  174. An old fat man’s five favorite movies, in no particular order:

    The man Who Shot Liberty Valance; High Noon; Roxanne; A Few Good Men, and The Shawshank Redemption.

    I also love Bull Durham, My Cousin Vinnie, and all the LOTR flicks.

  175. I haven’t watched a single LOTR movie. Wouldn’t say I’m nauseated by it — just not my cup of tea.

  176. Really Good Movies-

    The Sting
    The Dark Knight
    Dodgeball! (beautiful parody of like every sports movie I’ve ever seen)
    Casino Royal (the new one)
    Airplane!
    and, just for fun, Hamlet 2

  177. In light of our literary thread a few days back I thought I should share a link. My friend Jamie Ford (who I met at a writing class) has a book that came out today… check it out:

    I’ve no idea if it will be anybody on here’s literary cup of tea, but I know he’s a pretty good writer (though Publisher Weekly’s review on amazon is pretty harsh, the other reviews are pretty good).

  178. Hmmm, I tried to post a link to my friend’s book that came out today and it just went nowhere… I don’t even see it as awaiting moderation. The book is The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. He was my roommate at a writing class a couple years ago and his first book hit the stores today… Not sure if it would be anybody around here’s cup of tea, but he’s a pretty good writer so…

  179. I am delighted Don Sutton is back with the Braves. I think he teamed well with both Pete and Skip, less so with Joe, who I really like. Joe and Boog are okay, especially since I can’t get the Braves on the tube in central Florida. (Is the cause of Stu’s divorce worth my investmen t?)Don can be overbearing, but he does HOF credentials. Welcome back, don.

    Mac, how are you doing?

  180. Glavine and Andruw are in similar situations. If either one gets in front of Bobby they’ll be on the roster. Offer Andruw a minor league deal and pass on Glavine. Out of Hanson, Campillo, Morton, Reyes, Parr, Medlen, Bennett, and Carlyle all being at the league minimum and healthy, why offer anything to Glavine. I think the spot should go to Campillo as of right now and then look to Morton/Hanson. Someone will step up for that role. Save the Glavine $$ and bring Ohman back. Then look to add Abreu or Dunn and call it a successful offseason

  181. When asked if he’d seen Frenchy (aka Jeff Francoeur) hit recently, Jones replied, “Yeah, and he looks better than I’ve ever seen him. His weight distribution, his approach, his mind-set … everything looks great. He’s killing the ball right now.”

    thats somewhat exciting to hear…I’ll be pulling hard for Frenchy. Just average is all we ask

  182. Stu, thanks for asking…he’s good, just hanging out. Fussing a little bit. As for sleep, whats that!

  183. In Tennessee Peyton could run for governer as a Communist and win in a landslide.

    1 The Departed
    2 Godfather I&II
    3 Pulp Fiction
    4 Casablanca
    5 Bull Durham

  184. @ 257

    If you like The Departed go rent Internal Affairs. It’s the Hong Kong production that The Departed is based on, and thankfully Jack Nicholson is not in it.

  185. Frenchy hitting clean up? Wow. I have a feeling Chipper Jones gets walked 250 times this year and never once sees a fastball.

  186. Yeah to me there are two Jack Nicholsons…pre The Shining and post The Shining. Pre-Shining Nicholson was one of the best actors we had, culminating in that home-run performance in Kubrick’s classic.

    But every role Nicholson has done since then seems like a caricature of his character from The Shining. The raising of the eyebrows and wide Shining grin…it’s so cliche at this point IMO. In The Departed, to me, he wasn’t playing a gangster, he was playing Jack Nicholson and I thought he way overdid it.

    Not sure how old you are Smitty or if you are a film buff, but check him out in Chinatown or Cuckoo’s Nest…you’ll see the real talent of the guy.

  187. I have seen about everything Jack has done. YOou are right, he just plays Jack, but I am okay with that.

    I just found out that I have the MLB Network. Not bad!

  188. Stu,

    This says we have 6-7 MM left to spend this offseason.

    Where does that put us with your calculations for total payroll?

  189. @264

    Well, if we make the tournament this year, at least we’ll know we’ve earned it.

    Also, chalk another one up for the Royals

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