Omar Infante

I’m not sure. Infante had career highs (not counting a 72-AB callup in 2002) in batting average and on-base percentage. Most of that would appear to be making more contact, as Infante was much harder to strike out than he was in Detroit. (The Braves as a whole were one of the hardest teams to strike out in the majors in 2008.) But even hitting .293, he wasn’t a big offensive plus, as he has very little power (three homers last year) and doesn’t walk. If he starts hitting in the .270 range again and doesn’t recover the power he’s only shown once (16 homers in 2004) he’s hard to keep around — especially if he’s mostly playing positions other than short.

Infante played only 20 games at his principal position in 2008, with Brent Lillibridge getting much of the action when Escobar was out. That left Infante backing up at more offensive-minded positions, left field and third base, where he was substandard at bat. He also didn’t play well defensively in left, though his stats in the infield are pretty good. He seems to have slowed down in recent years (judging from stolen base counts) and lacks the speed that is usually asked for in the outfield — not unusual on this team, I’m afraid. He’s still a useful player, especially if Escobar is going to miss time, but shouldn’t get lots of starts in a row in the outfield. Last year, however, he was one of the better options. If he still is this year, we’re in big trouble.

Omar Infante Statistics –

196 thoughts on “Omar Infante”

  1. In light of the news that the Braves are making a late run at Griffey: it amazes me how Wren has sought guys like Griffey, Lowe, Burnett, Abreu, even Glavine, but somehow he managed to let Smoltz walk away without making a credible offer. Amazing. Just.. amazing.

    Oh, and I agree completely with the above assessment on Infante. He is useful only if he hits for high average and stays in the middle infield–neither of which is likely this year.

  2. In all fairness, I think Infante is one of the best utility infielders we’ve had in a long time…since tony graffanino maybe.

    In regards to the signing of a washed up left handed outfielder, I’m thinking edmonds might be our best option. I just feel like you can’t count on griffey to stay healthy at all, even in a platoon. Anderson hasn’t shown too much sign of decline over the past three years, I mean clearly his best years are long behind him, but he’s a spring chicken compaired to Griffey and Edmonds, but I really think edmonds is probably our best option.

  3. Infante: He’s a solid bench player, who can play SS well, some other positions okay in a pinch, exhibits no platoon split of any kind. If Prado could really play SS we wouldn’t need him, but he can’t, so we do. Not sure if there’s someone else in the system cheaper that we should be preferencing, but I view him as a decent role / bench player.

    Griffey: If he’s serious that he’d be happy in a platoon and not just using us as leverage for more money from the Dodgers… erm, Mariners… then at the right price he could be a perfect platoon partner with Matty D. In his career he’s hit RHP at something around 950 OPS, a good 110 or so points higher than LHP, and in the last two – four years, that split is much heavier, more in the 120 – 140 point range. His OBP/SLG vs RHP for the last 4 years (decending) are: .379/.462, .402/.540, .346/.523 and .378/.596. Each of those is in over 300 PA’s per season, most near 400, though in favorably power parks (GABp (I’ll call her “Gabby”) and the Cell), so solid sample sizes. Let’s say he passes a physical, platoons and comes off the bench (and we have so many LHP in our division that he’d likely have more rest than the typical right hand facing half of a platoon, so there’d be that deficit in the Wear & Tear ledger). I don’t know what the Mariners are willing to offer, but we’re kind of a better fit for his playing time, plus weaker league and park than Seattle, and he could sneakily be just as good for us as someone like Abreu, since we weren’t going to cut Diaz anyway.

    Of course, our casual fans and blah media would paint him as just a booby prize for Wren, but I wouldn’t have overpaid for anyone else available other than Games Bradley either. Could be the best value move of the offseason. Though I do think getting Vazquez was pretty valuable too.

  4. maybe we should sign griffey and edmonds, and platoon both corner OF positions with Josh Anderson in center most days.

  5. Why are there no right-handed hitting outfielders anymore?

    Seriously, after Manny (who is a DH and why everyone doesn’t see that is beyond me), who are the good right-handed outfielders (signed or un-signed)?

  6. There probably is a real tendency for the better outfielders to be left-handed hitters in recent years. Hitting and throwing don’t match 100 percent, but righthanded throwers are more likely to hit righthanded. And post-Ripken, they don’t get moved to the outfield as much as they used to. IOW, they’re playing third base.

  7. From what I’ve seen of Griffey, I would love to have him as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitting specialist. Unfortunately we have an outfield full of fourth outfielders (or worse). If Griffey is our solution to our OF power outage, we’re in trouble.

  8. I know I should be upset that we’re not getting Swisher…but the thought of Junior in a Braves uniform just makes me smile.

  9. Just a FYI, either Chipper is over commenting on AJC right now or somebody is using his usual blog name (U Kno Who). It is probably the latter b/c of a couple of the comments, but just in case it is – thought I’d say something…

  10. Getting Griffey to be a platoon partner for Diaz? Grasping at straws. If I’m jr. family considerations aside i would want to end my career in Seattle where I could DH.

    Love Griffey the player but i dont think he has anything left.

  11. While his skills have eroded big time, only the Braves would consider platooning Matt freaking Diaz with Ken Griffey Jr.

    And I don’t care about the SABR splits, platoon advantage etc.

    He hit 18 HR and .353 OBP last year.

    We are our own worst enemy and this franchise is going to hell in a handbasket.

  12. JC, nice to see you get a shout out in Klaw’s chat the other day.

    Griffey, ugh. I’m very underwhelmed at this point. I’d rather trade for Swisher/whoever else than run a Diaz/Griffey platoon out there.

    Can somebody who is older than me run through the particulars when Griffey was traded to Cincinnati, what the rumored offer the Braves had on the table was ? I vaguely remember it being Andruw, Millwood, etc and I remember being all for it at the time. I mean, it was Ken freaking Griffey, Jr. Glad JS didn’t make that move.

  13. Adam M.–Good observation–Notice the amount of publicity the the organization is giving to Wren’s conversations with Glavine–events that apparently Smoltz did not receive.

    I like the idea of bringing in Griffy (rather than piss away prospects for Swisher)–assuming he still has adequate mobility….

  14. There’s a lot less downside to Griffey’s body falling apart – we’d be out a few million and we could replace him with Brandon Jones. I’m afraid of the prospects we’d have to spend to get Swisher.

    I like the idea of Griffey as a Diaz platoon partner. It’s not like there are a lot of sure-thing, low-cost options out there. Griffey is low-cost, and could help improve LF.

  15. Jay, my problem isn’t as much as with Griffey, it mainly is that I was promised ‘two starting pitchers and an upgraded outfield.’ Adding Griffey and possibly Schafer & Brandon Jones, isn’t going to cut it. I guess it’s easier to trade for bats in season and in spring training than it is for pitching, so maybe that’s part of the ‘plan.’

  16. #33–I don’t think there is a ‘plan’ or if there was its no longer operative….

  17. if this is going to be a Diaz/Griffey platoon:

    1. who’s going to hit cleanup vs. LHPs?

    2. who’s going to hit cleanup vs. RHPs? … I don’t think Griffey will be in the 4-spot in either case

  18. “who’s going to hit cleanup vs. LHPs”

    that is a really tough question to answer right now. i would guess it would be mccann against righties.

    i will say this, if wren does sign griffey and glavine, he will have satisfied a much needed push for better ticket sales. glavine will keep the braves’ glory years loyals happy, and griffey jr, after taking every person accused of steroids out of the picture, might be the greatest baseball player of his era. i would enjoy even an over-the-hill griffey in a braves uniform. the signing will hopefully make golden boy realize that his job is not so secure because griffey could easily take his job in right.

  19. Someone posted a picture of Schafer on the DOB blog earlier today… doesn’t look like an elf anymore.

  20. If we can get 25 HRs out of any scrap-heap platoon OF, we should be over-the-moon thrilled. And all of this talk about “OH NOS WHO WILL HIT CLEANUP?!” is a bit ridiculous. McCann seems like the obvious choice. If you really want a righty there against LHPs, you put in Diaz or (if he’s doing better) Frenchy. Lineup construction is overblown. The only thing you really want to be warry about is making your lineup easy pickings for xOOGYs.

    Griffy would be an okay addition to LF as a platoon player (but only if he stayed in a strict platoon role), and I actually like Jim Edmonds there more. Not only will the name premium be a bit less, but he’s just a better player at this stage. And, you can stick him in CF in a pinch without a disaster occuring. It basically allows you to not have to carry a backup CF on the bench, which translates to another pinch hitter (a better one than Blanco/Anderson) or get another pitcher out in the bullpen.

    So yeah, I’d much rather have Jim Edmonds.

  21. We can indeed get league average production from a Griffey/Diaz platoon in LF. It’s a big IF, but it’s possible. That now leaves two enormous holes in the rest of the outfield, along with a pretty big one at 1B. So even with Griffey, I’d peg the Braves’ offense–especially when considering how brittle is Chipper at 3B-at about average.

  22. I don’t see how you can say that a Diaz/Griffey platoon would be a big if to be league average. Griffey’s OPS+ vs RHP was 117 last year. Diaz’s OPS+ vs LHP has been consistently above 120. So, that’s a platoon that’s well above league average. In fact, that’s about what you’d be getting from Abreu in LF, but with better defense and for less money.

  23. I’m fine with a Griffey platoon in left. I don’t see a downside to the obvious other alternatives out there right now. Plus, Griffey playing for the Braves should get some nice merchandising revenue in for the Braves.

  24. Griffey is injury prone and is declining right now–the question is when he will bottom out. Diaz… didn’t really play last year. Anytime a guy on the wrong side of his physical prime comes back from a lost season–and one who hasn’t ever played a full season as a starter, no less–there are question marks. And as for defense, Griffey has become an ENORMOUS defensive liability:

    When accounting for defense, and taking stock of the likelihood of injuries, these guys combine to an ‘IF.’ Griffey should be a platoon DH, nothing more.

  25. I still like Edmonds better, but the idea of the kid in a platoon with Diaz sounds good especially if we are going to go forward with Diaz, Francoeur, Griffey, Jones, Blanco, Anderson and Schafer and see how things shake out, leaving the option for a spring or early to mid season trade for a more proven outfielder if we so need one. Who knows? Maybe francoeur will return at least to his 06-07 numbers, and maybe one of Schafer, Anderson, Blanco, Jones or even Gorkys will look like an ML capable CF. At any rate, I like the basic approach of leaving our options open and seeing how things shake out in spring.

  26. I’d rather go with the kids than the dinosaurs, and that’s because they not only have higher ceilings (right now) but will field a helluva lot better. The Braves aren’t gonna get production out of their outfield, they just aren’t. They at least should try to minimize that damage by fielding a strong defensive group.

  27. from Starks latest column….

    From all accounts, Griffey hasn’t said yes yet. And all Braves general manager Frank Wren would say about him Sunday, during the Braves’ first workout of the spring, was that “we have interest, and we’ve expressed that interest. And as we’re getting closer to our full squad reporting Wednesday, we’d like to add a bat. And he’s one of the guys we’re considering and talking to.”

    But every indication is that Griffey has moved ahead of the Braves’ other options (namely, signing free agent Garret Anderson or trading for the Yankees’ Nick Swisher).

    Besides fitting in at a salary that would enable them to also bring back Tom Glavine, here’s what Griffey offers the Braves:

  28. @51

    Griffey wouldn’t be in CF or RF, though, which is where those numbers were accumulated (and UZR can spit out some odd-looking data). I doubt he’d be very much below average in LF, and that .272/.379/.462 line vs. RHP in ’08 looks pretty good to me.

    I’d rather work a trade for Swisher, but I can certainly get behind this. Better than Garret Anderson, that’s for sure.

  29. Did you see Wren’s quote in the AJC today? “The battles will be in left and center.”


    There is a huge, gaping, ponderous, oozing hole in RF and we won’t even CONSIDER adding a little competition for the spot?

    Does he have pictures of Wren with Don Zimmer in compromising positions?

    A healthy Diaz is above average hitting, fielding and a great clubhouse guy. Nah, we don’t want any of that.

    We want Wonderboy.

    I think I’m going to puke.

    If we must keep Francouer, a Griffey / Francouer platoon is the only thing that makes sense. It’s actually unlikely that left-handers will throw Frenchy a slider down and away that he can miss like Andruw.

    This is insane. Simply, utterly insane.

  30. I agree hankonly, as does any rational Braves fan. Francoeur has been one of the biggest single factors of the decline of the Braves dynasty. He has sucked up so many outs and killed so many rallies.

  31. From the Dog That Didn’t Bark department:

    Statistically, K-Rod had a marvelous 2008. Yet the Angels’ attitude seemed to be “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”. Is that accurate?

    If so, why? And how soon can we see it help implode the Mets dugout?

  32. @57&58: Rational Braves fan here, in total disagreement.

    1st, look at Francoeur’s splits from last season: vRHP: .251/.303/.381; vLHP: .210/.273/.307… While these numbers aren’t consistent throughout his career, I don’t think it would make any sense to sit Jeff against righties.

    2nd, Matt Diaz is a big question mark in LF. I loved the guy two and three years ago, but at 31 years old coming off that injury and a lost season we simply can’t assume he’s going to be in that kind of shape again. A platoon makes perfect sense (Diaz also hit 38 points higher, while slugging 174 points higher against lefties in ’07, and in a limited number of at-bats hit 160 points higher, slugging 242 points higher against lefties in ’08.) Don’t get me started on the defensive inequities between Diaz and Francoeur.

    The REAL nice thing about adding Griffey is, presumably, he could play RF if Jeff slides back into the slump that ruined his ’08 campaign. Giving us an in-house option without increasing the pressure on Francoeur (who has shown, in my opinion, that he may struggle when put under intense pressure.)

  33. 1st, look at Francoeur’s splits from last season: vRHP: .251/.303/.381; vLHP: .210/.273/.307… While these numbers aren’t consistent throughout his career, I don’t think it would make any sense to sit start Jeff against righties anyone.

    Edited for clarity

  34. @60

    We’re gonna have to if we want a center fielder.

    EDIT: I’m assuming you’re counting Norton as an OF

  35. @59,
    He saved a bunch of games, which could be construed as “marvelous”. But really, most of his peripherals were down, and in most cases, some of the worst of his career.

    His WHIP (1.28) was the worst he’s ever posted; his K/9 (10.14) was his lowest since 2003; he struck out only 77 batters, the fewest in his career; his BAA (.219) was the highest he’s ever allowed; his Line Drive % (19.8) was the highest he’s ever allowed; and he allowed a much higher OPS (.700 to .582) in the second half.

    Now, none of that necessarily portends doom, but many of his peripheral statistics have been trending downward for a few years now, so it’s probable he’ll see a gradual decline in effectiveness — possibly gaudy save totals notwithstanding.

  36. I figure if Griffey signs, and we carry the usual 12 man staff the 13 others on roster will break down as follows.

    C- McCann
    C- Ross

    1B- Kotchman
    2B- Johnson
    SS- Escobar
    3B- Jones
    INF- Prado

    OF- Francoeur
    OF- Anderson
    OF- Diaz
    OF- Griffey
    OF- Norton

    INF/OF- Infante

    I figure the CF job is Anderson’s to lose considering that he is out of options and Blanco isn’t

    Just for fun, here’s a stab at the staff

    1. Lowe
    2. Vasquez
    3. Jurrjens
    4. Kamikaze
    5. Glavine

    1. Gonzalez
    2. Soriano
    3. Moylan
    4. Boyer
    5. Acosta
    6. Boone/O’Flatery
    7. Bennett

    Actually, that wasn’t that hard. Does anyone disagree strongly with any of this? Outside of the LOOGY competition, it doesn’t seem like there is a lot up for grabs unless someone falls off a cliff

    Am I off base here?

  37. Ethan,

    You have the gift of clarity. When you look at it that way, you recognize how precious those roster spots are.

    Or should be. (hint)

  38. Ethan,
    I think Stockman, who is out of options, makes the Opening Day roster, either at the expense of a still-disabled guy Acosta.

    Also, I’d label Norton an INF/OF, too, but that’s just picking nits.

  39. Griffey made 8.2 million last year. If we only commit 1 million to Glavine in 2009, that would leave us 4-6 million. I would assume he’ll make less this year, but won’t the Mariners have plenty of incentive to overpay for him? Do they have the money?

  40. Ethan-

    I like it mostly, but who backs up CF? Infante? I really don’t want to go into the year counting on Anderson to play every day in CF.

  41. according to, Griffey says he WANTS to end up with the braves, rather than the mariners…


    From that article, it really looks like the Braves will end up with Griffey. Now what?

    From what you could reasonably expect Griffey to do against righties and Diaz to do against lefties, I think we should be pretty happy. With those stats, that’s essentially Bobby Abreu will probably better defense. Some of us were all about Abreu, and now it seems like we’ll get better production for less money, so I think we should be happy. Plus, Griffey should give us a little more fan attraction than we’ve had in years past, and that can only help.

  43. Stu – That’s a good point, although Acosta did pitch a little at the end of last year. Did something else happen to him? The options part is solid though. Didn’t realize that. I’ve always liked Stockman; it’d be awesome if he could stay healthy and put together a season.

    mraver – That’s the main part that worries me too. I’m a little leery of having only one guy on the roster who can handle CF. If you sign Griffey though, I don’t see it breaking down any other way.

    Having AAA so close this season could come in handy.

    I am on board with JC on the financing of the stadium though.

  44. In looking at Griffey’s numbers against righties I’m not quite as negative about him as I was originally. I saw him early in the year last year and he really looked done. His bat speed seemed to have slowed down quite a bit. Maybe that had more to do with his knee problems and maybe he improved later in the year. I will have to say that getting Griffey would be a treat for the fans, but if he’s done (I’m about 50/50 on this now) we’re in trouble. I’ll have to say that he seems like a better risk than anyone we have and 10x better risk than Andruw would have been.

  45. Something else: (this is mostly conjecture)

    If we’re offering Griffey 1.5 MM and Glavine 1 MM, (the remainder deferred) that should give us around 5MM to play with for the remainder of the season.

    Sooo… if we don’t add anyone else prior to the season, we should be able to add a player with a starting season salary of around 10 MM around the deadline. Holliday, Dye, Cameron?

    In any case, I like the idea of having a little cushion. You can never predict injuries. (outside maybe Chipper…though I keep hoping)

  46. One more thing I saw:

    Did anyone else notice that Chipper was .001 from hitting .400 at home last year? .399 is unreal.

  47. @65: Moylan won’t be on the Opening Day roster, I’m pretty sure he won’t be ready for a few weeks, but he’ll clearly be on it eventually. I’d also expect Buddy Carlyle and Jorge Campillo to battle with Stockman for that spot. (Not sure about Acosta’s availability… but I also wouldn’t be shocked if we swing a trade that includes Boyer or Manny.)

    Also, to get picky here, it is Vazquez, not Vasquez, Boone is Boone Logan’s first name, you butchered Eric O’Flaherty’s name entirely, and the Japanese pitcher that we signed is actually named Kawakami, not Kamikaze (though “The Dragon” works for quick reference in a pinch with more precision, and less politically incorrect overtones.)

  48. @78: That is an insane split, with an OBP over .500… and just to make sure we don’t short change Chipper he was actually less than .00086 from batting .400 at home.

    He also put up gaudy splits against FLA (.456/.516/.754 in 15 Games with 64 PAs) and PHI (.457/.612/.943 in 12 games, 10 starts, with 49 PAs)… I think it is fair to say he had a decent season last year.

    Meanwhile, what’s the big deal with “needing” to have a right-handed bat behind Chipper? He hit lefties much better than righties last year, wouldn’t it make more sense to put McCann behind him, and force teams to keep left-handers in, or tired right-handers, to face Chipper? (His career splits are pretty much even too.) Of course then you’d want a right-handed bat to put behind him, but we’ve got some in-house possibilities that might work in the 5 spot against most pitchers.

  49. 77—I thought about that, too, Ethan, but I think it’s more likely that we just don’t have anything other than $2-3 million left and we’re spending all that on Glavine and Griffey. Maybe Liberty Media will OK a move at mid-season if we’re in contention and fans are showing up, but I think we’re right up against the maximum budget right now.

  50. @79

    I think if Campillo/Carlyle battle with anyone for a roster spot, it will be Bennett for the long reliever/spot starter. I don’t think that their arsenal of pitches is of a high enough quality for high leverage situations. (especially compared to Boyer/Acosta) However, IMO, Bennett is better

    Probably right about Moylan, but I’m basing this on who will be there the majority of the year. Also, there’s an article up on the AJC today about him saying he’s already throwing filthy. We’ll see.

    With the rest… let it go dude.


    I get the feeling that the Griffey/Glavine thing will resolve itself in the next few days. When it does, I’d be interested in seeing how the final payroll works out if you’ve got it broken down. It might be just me, but it seems like its a little lighter than some of your original conjectures.

  51. @83: I’d agree with your Campillo/Carlyle/Bennett comments, but both Campillo and Carlyle have done enough for us over the last year or two that I think they’ve earned some points in Bobby’s book… it wouldn’t shock me if either earns a spot in the ‘pen if Moylan (or anyone else) ends up on the DL to start the season.

    As for the rest I was really just taking up where Stu’s nit-picking left off… I won’t blame anyone for needing to get better acquainted with the new look Braves pitching staff.

    @82: I’m guessing most of the money to both of those guys would come differed. Griffey’s still getting money from the Reds this year, so it won’t hurt him to stretch the contract out over the next few years, and Glavine will be willing to do the same to stick in Atlanta.

    @81: Really? Well done? Seemed more like amateur hour to me… Though I guess I’ve grown accustom to having fact-supported ideas rejected in favor of unsupported attempts at humor. (It would make no business sense to bench Francoeur, or send him to the minors… in this situation you have to give him a chance to prove himself at the ML level, or cut the cord. If he can put up another year or two of the numbers he put up in ’06-’07 he’ll have increased his trade value exponentially, and if he puts up a few more months that look like ’08 you can move to cut bait without any backlash from the fanbase, sponsors, or the media.)

  52. Gadfly–I admire the rigor with which you attempt to ground your defence of Frenchy (not just in these posts)–even if disagree with it. The facts which make Spike’s joke credible was the way that Frenchy played. Those “few months” were awful and one of the major reasons why the Braves did so poorly in 2009.

    Spike’s joke hardly needed extensive empirical data…

    FWIW, last summer I felt that the Frenchy bashing got out of control–but I also fully understand why it happened and don’t think that the Braves are going to be very competitive with him in RF. Since he appears to have the position as a virtual sinecure, I hope that I am wrong….

  53. Does anyone else think that the Angels may have used all those save opportunities for K-Rod to get him out of town?

    And not that anyone should care what I think, but please give “Kamikaze” a rest. It’s pretty freaking lame and personally annoying to me.

  54. “It would make no business sense to bench Francoeur, or send him to the minors”

    no, but it would make a lot of baseball sense.
    ethan, type what you want unless directed by mac.
    billy jay, i respect your posts most of the time, but it irritates me when people, other than the blog manager, tell people what to type. as for gadfly, the pointing out of misspellings on a blog is incredibly lame, but feel free to voice your opinion on the matter. i know i will.

    as for griffey, he makes the most sense if we can sign him for 2.5 or less. i like the idea of having a potential right and left field platoon if it means the best player gets the job (assuming we carry 5 outfielders). i, for one, would love diaz, b.jones, griffey, schafer(if he proves himself), and golden boy on the opening day roster.

  55. Though I guess I’ve grown accustom to having fact-supported ideas rejected in favor of unsupported attempts at humor.

    Oh man, this is rich. You have had nothing but a theory in search of data from the start. I too commend your perseverance, but your continuing to say something doesn’t make it so. I am not interested in carrying the “argument” any further, but when you come out with a howler like #61, I just can’t help myself.

    Carry on, Sisyphus.

  56. They had an interview of Keith Law over at Talking Chop.

    Very nice piece. My favorite part was when he asked KLaw about the weaknesses of the Braves system. I could have sworn I was reading Mac:

    The obvious weakness is the lack of infield prospects, but I think there’s a bigger organizational weakness: their excessive loyalty to certain players. Jeff Francoeur should have been non-tendered, and instead they’re taking him to arbitration, even though he’s about the worst “everyday” player in the game and seems to blame everyone but himself for his horrendous play. Tom Glavine is a damn charity case. He’d be their eighth- or ninth-best starting option if they sign him, assuming he can pick up a ball without hurting something. If I was Frank and he rejected my $1 million offer, my answer to their counteroffer with would end with “… and the horse you rode in on.” Yet Atlanta is the team that can’t say no to players with some sort of tie to the organization. They stood firm with San Diego in the Jake Peavy discussions; I wish they’d do the same with their own mediocre players and avoid a situation where Tommy Hanson is ready to come up in June but can’t because it might hurt Lil’ Tommy Glavine’s feelings.

    Fantastic. Though I will admit/agree that much of the reason I’m fine with Glavine in the 5 spot has to do with nostalgia.

  57. Wow. KLaw for GM!

    I wish I knew who in the organization so completely misunderstands our priorities (baseball-wise).

    I cannot wait until Arthur Blanc can buy this team.

  58. 87—Mac’s the only one who can enforce any language policy, but I see nothing wrong with one poster requesting that another not use certain language.

    83—You are right that the payroll will come in below where I projected. I think I projected too high. I think this year’s payroll will actually be less than last year’s was, or at least no higher.

    For what it’s worth, right now, if both Francoeur and KJ win their arb cases, that puts the payroll at around $94 million, or around $88 million after the insurance on Hudson is subtracted. Now I expect Francoeur to lose and the Braves to reach an agreement with KJ, shaving another $1.5 million off that figure. So, that puts it at ~$86.5 million. Adding Griffey and Glavine probably gets us to around $90 million plus incentives. Perhaps those incentives will have the potential to take the payroll back to the $94 million mark that was last year’s figure.

  59. How many 5th starters do we really need? Everyone got hurt last year, that kind of thing doesn’t happen twice in a row.

  60. Chipper pretty much nails it in Stark’s most recent Smoltz-is-gone column:

    We were willing to give Smoltzie as much as the Red Sox were to pitch. We just weren’t ready to give him as much as the Red Sox NOT to pitch. And ultimately, that was Smoltzie’s decision. So it’s really hard for me to be mad or frustrated or upset with either party. Frank did what he thought was best for the organization. And John did what he thought was best for him.

  61. “assuming he can pick up a ball without hurting something”

    That’s a little unfair – we’re not talking about Mike Hampton here.

    And though I do agree with his larger point, Francoeur shouldn’t have been non-tendered he should have been sent to the minors.

    And, wow, love that quote from Chipper. He’s right on.

  62. Ryan, that’s cool, man. Do you see where I’m coming from, though? Kawakami and Kamikaze have absolutely nothing to do with each other apart from both being Japanese words. It only reinforces stereotypes about Southerners being ignorant hicks. Note that I don’t believe that Southerners are ignorant hicks. I just don’t want to see them acting like it.

  63. If we sign Griffey that will give us 6 Of’s on the roster.

    Diaz, Griffey, Schaefer or Anderson, Frenchy, Norton, Infante. Brandon Jones will not be apart of the opening day roster

  64. We were willing to give Smoltzie as much as the Red Sox were to pitch. We just weren’t ready to give him as much as the Red Sox NOT to pitch.

    Isn’t that Frank Wren’s quote? I know he said that exact line the day after the Smoltz signing. Is Chipper Jones stealing quotes or what?

  65. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not *exactly* the same, as Wren wouldn’t say “Smoltzie” to the press, but you may be right. Anyway, in the article, to which I should have linked, that quote is in the context of Chipper admitting that after thinking it over for a couple days (after his initial outburst against the organization), he came to understand Wren’s point of view, so it would make sense that he’s regurgitating something close to Wren’s point of view.

  66. @95

    I don’t. It seems like the people who would be mad for using the play on words Kamikaze are the same ones who would be mad at a baseball team for using a Native American name like the Braves for a mascot.

    I can let it go because it’s not a big deal, but that’s also my point. It’s really not that big of deal.

  67. Thanks to the power of Google, from the Braves’ official site on January 8, 2009:

    “We were willing to pay John as much or more than the Red Sox to pitch,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said on Thursday. “We just weren’t willing to pay him as much as the Red Sox were to not pitch.”

  68. who cares if what Wren and Chipper said are the same? they have a point. I was pissed at 1st, but Im over it. John apparently isnt because he’s still talking about the way it was handled. The Braves gave him $14m to ride the pine last year

  69. who cares what Wren and Chipper say, they have a point

    Oh I know. I think in the immediate aftermath of Smoltz leaving, people were so upset they didn’t pay any real attention to what Wren said.

  70. This is a great article from Victor Wang over at The Hardball Times. Basically, his earlier research has developed probabilities of prospects at given numerical overall rankings of reaching a given level of major league success. It is much more probable that a high prospect hitter will be a good major leaguer and also more probable that the hitter will be a star. This compares David Price to Wieters.

    I have been thinking for a while that the National League GM of a troubled depleted franchise (Pirates, Padres?) that first goes “all in” on position players and goes to an “all reliever” pitching format will be hailed as a genius.

  71. Fantasy baseball time!

    Yahoo League ID: 96336

    Draft is Saturday, Feb. 21 at 11:00am EST

    16 slots

  72. “Oh I know. I think in the immediate aftermath of Smoltz leaving, people were so upset they didn’t pay any real attention to what Wren said.”

    I agree, I was one of them

  73. “I can let it go because it’s not a big deal, but that’s also my point. It’s really not that big of deal.”

    Great line. Ethan, sad as it is, some people spend their entire lives looking for ways to be offended. Mountains out of molehills, if you will.

  74. @107

    Me too. I understand Wren’s rationale (sorta) but it still makes me sick seeing him in another uniform.


    Never done Yahoo before, but I’m always open to giving lessons in fantasy baseball.

  75. Apparently a lot of people weren’t listening to what the people who were angry about the Smoltz thing were saying either.

    A lot of people, myself included, were angry that he was gone because we didn’t think that all the money under the budget was going to be spent anyway, or at least not spent on anything better than Smoltz.

    It turns out we either didn’t have as much as we thought, or we just spent whatever we had. It’s clear that if we had Smoltz now under contract we’d have nothing left for a bat. I’m not upset anymore about the decision, just the result because I miss smoltz.

  76. billy-jay

    I know you’re immersed in Japanese culture, so “Kamikaze” probably grates more to you. And I’m with you on that — I’m hoping for a better nickname. But it’s probably gonna end up being “Kamikaze”, and I’m afraid there’s little to be done.

  77. Funniest DOB blog comment ever?


    Does Furman Bisher smell like an old person?

    Mention a song in your next blog if you thought this was funny.


  78. @85: Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I tend to be pretty open-minded, though picky, when it comes to humor, but his joke seemed pretty basic and unimaginative to me. I’ll let everyone have their own opinion though.

    @87: First, as I said the nit-picking spell check was a joke, albeit a rather obtuse one. More importantly, from a baseball standpoint there might be a case made to bench Francoeur if we could acquire a good replacement (we still don’t have anyone better to play RF,) but the Braves are a business, not just a baseball team, and that is why Jeff will be given a chance to succeed this year (it has little to do with loyalty as misinterpreted by Keith Law above.) Its like buying into a blue chip stock at $1 a share, that jumps to $30 a share a week later, only to settle back down to $0.50… it seems to me like it is worth holding onto even if you’ve determined it will never hit $30 again (which I haven’t, but some here have.)

    @101: Good point, though I agree with the no-Kamikaze crowd. Mostly because it really doesn’t fit Kawakami’s pitching style at all. As for your analogy there is one big difference: with the “Braves” it is describing the whole team, and it has a good deal of supporting history, with “Kamikaze” it is only describing one player, who might not feel all that comfortable being refered to by a WWII holdover… if Kenshin comes out and calls himself “The Big Kamikaze” I’ll embrace it, but until then he is clearly The Dragon.

    Oh, and I love Chipper Jones… just figured I’d throw that out there.

  79. I’ll let everyone have their own opinion though.

    Thanks, man, I really appreciate that.

    Mostly because it really doesn’t fit Kawakami’s pitching style at all.

    It’s absolutely true that Kenshin doesn’t hurl him self toward the batter’s box, knowing full-well he’s about to die.

  80. MLBTV reports that Mike Hampton has been taken to see a team doctor due to an iregular heart beat. No lie.

  81. Thanks Smitty. I hope that Hampton is alright, but I have had the bitter feeling that his health will improve once we are no longer to pay him a fortune….

  82. “Its like buying into a blue chip stock at $1 a share, that jumps to $30 a share a week later, only to settle back down to $0.50… it seems to me like it is worth holding onto even if you’ve determined it will never hit $30 again (which I haven’t, but some here have.)”

    Are you familiar with the sunk-cost fallacy? It states that it doesn’t matter what you paid for a stock (or anything (a baseball player in this case)), or what it may have been worth at one time, its true value can only be considered as what its value is RIGHT NOW.

    I don’t think the Braves are keeping Frenchy around because he used to be good, or because they spent a high draft pick on him. They are keeping him around because they don’t really have any other options (mixed in with some perversion of “loyalty”). Don’t you think if they could afford to bring in free agent X for 15 million a year to play RF instead of Jeff, they would? If they could afford to, I think they would have cut their losses already.

  83. Gadfly at 113,

    No, the stock analogy is more like this.

    Your broker and most of your investing friends (but not some contrarian kind of like Bill O’Reilly, or Keith Law) told you that you really needed to buy GE (or Francoeur). It looked great. It was going to go places. But, alas, Jeffrey (Immelt, or Francoeur, depending on which subject) actually has produced at a substantially lower level than his predecessor (Jack Welch or Brian Jordan) and less than most of his contemporaries. Meanwhile, Jeffrey continues to complain that he has done nothing wrong (like, not bad to do business with Iran or to dedicate his cable new operation to one point of view, orm fior thge itger Jeffrey, not failed miserably as a player) to the point of annoying many people.

    But still, the Board (of Directors in one case or Cox as backed up by some of the FO in the other) keeps hoping for a miraculous turn around to cover part of their investment.

    Neither “Board” is waiting for the stock to return to its high, they just want it to be worth SOMETHING more than now (partly, in both cases, so they don’t look quite as much like idiots for letting this go on this long).

  84. Michael, I agree with your statement to a certain extent. I think what upsets people is when they read comments from Wren saying ‘the competition will be in center and left.’ Frenchy should at the very, very least have to ‘compete’ for his position.

    Where you are dead wrong through is they could have afforded to cut ties this off season. They could have non-tendered him and used that money towards signing a player like Abreu. If they didn’t sign Glavine and Frenchy, they most likely would have had enough money to pay Abreu/whoever AND Griffey.

  85. @113

    Except in the case of this particular stock we bought in at $1.00 with very imperfect information and now have information strongly indicating that the stock as originally valued at $1.00 was already overpriced and $.50 is actually a more accurate assessment of value.

    You don’t just close your eyes and hope for the best. You open them, use them, and make decisions based on what you actually see, not what you thought you once saw.

  86. Where you are dead wrong through is they could have afforded to cut ties this off season. They could have non-tendered him and used that money towards signing a player like Abreu. If they didn’t sign Glavine and Frenchy, they most likely would have had enough money to pay Abreu/whoever AND Griffey.

    True, but I don’t think that’s a fair criticism. Could anyone possibly have guessed at the time the offering-arbitration-versus-non-tendering decisions had to be made that Abreu would later sign for $5 million?

  87. Stu, I agree with that, but more of what I meant was that they knew they were going to have to tie up somewhere in the range of $2.5 to $4 mill for Frenchy. They could have at least taken that money and applied it to another outfielder, perhaps not knowing ahead of time how much those said outfielders were going to cost.

    The front office continues to put a lot of eggs in one basket with Frenchy, and we’ll see how that pans out.

  88. AAR,
    Fair point about being cut, although 1/6th of $2.8 million is still enough of a dent to make Abreu unaffordable, as I understand the current financial situation.

    Also, only our first-rounder is protected. You’d give up the second-rounder (still a Top 50 pick) for Cruz? Besides, with MLB all but saying it’ll facilitate sign-and-trades for Cruz, Hudson, and Cabrera, why would he sign for the minimum?

    I don’t disagree with your general sentiment. Maybe Francoeur will become average offensively with good defense again and bail us out.

  89. Actually, I think the best analogy for Frenchy right now with respect to the FO is the Gambler’s Dilemma – I’ve committed x dollars to the pot already, and the only way I can hope to get anything back is to continue to bet y more dollars. It’s tangential to the sunk cost statement, but it differs in that the money Jeff will be paid by the Braves this year is discretionary, not obligatory, as he is on a year to year basis. A guy like Hampton was a sunk cost – we owed him no matter what. Francouer is just chasing a runner-runner straight after a check-raise each time from rest of the table: You could have walked away at any time.

  90. It’s one thing to chase runner-runner where if you hit it you’ve got the nuts.

    In this case, runner-runner for us is just a pair on the board. Sure we’ll have a pair, but everyone else will also have that pair, and probably an even better overall hand. Unless we’re hoping to bluff someone out of the hand and convince them to trade for Francoeur then we’re probably just throwing good money at bad money.

  91. Well not to stretch the point too far (not that it would ever happen on this board) it just seems because of the Half Season of Success ™ and the amount of marketing/hype they have put into Frenchy, they can’t bring themselves to just cut/trade/non-tender/whatever him. They are going to wait until he’s gone full Murphy (if he hasn’t already) before turning him loose for nothing or next to nothing after squandering the opportunity cost of being competitive for a season or two.

  92. On Cruz,

    Our second roundpick is already the Dodgers because of Lowe. i believe that Arizona would get the 3rd round pick. However, I don’t see getting Cruz as particularly useful.

    We have lots of good bullpen arms. We also have lots of fair to good starters. We have a back up catcher (obviously that was an urgent and critical signing). We have a back up shortstop (spent some money there too, didn’t we?) We have a Major League caliber pinch hitter (here’s looking at you, Norton)

    We don’t have more than 1 proven Major League caliber outfielder. And most people on this site seem to think he is a platoon player.

    Please forget Glavine, Cruz, and whoever else and then AFTER you get an outfielder (just 1 first) THEN try the next signing.

  93. Spike.

    I do think this is it for Francoeur. I think you will see him until June 10 or so (unless he is even worse than last year). Then, I think they will option him if they don’t get some kind of performance and bring up Schafer (or maybe B. Jones). Then, if they don’t move him, they will non tender before arb next year.

  94. But, I agree with KLaw’s point. money for Glavine and Francoeur here when productive bats are available FA for little or nothing is sentiment and loyalty and whatever gone all a kilter.

  95. DOB addressed it and said that Maddux had already told Cox he’d be with the Braves in ST next year.

    I can’t believe we didn’t call him immediately this year, though, Ethan.

  96. I definitely agree with KLaw about Francoeur. However, I think his point on Glavine is flawed. Hanson may be the better option than Glavine, but with his minimal upper level minors experience, he would definitely benefit from some more time in the minors. The other guys (with the exception of 1/2 a year from Campillo that I believe is a fluke) have shown very little in the way of being major league ready (although each have had a few good starts) and would benefit from more time in the minors. Sending them down would do much better than letting them pitch with a 6+ ERA in the majors.

  97. I don’t think that Keith’s problem was so much with Glavine’s pitching, but that the Braves are bending over backwards to offer the guy a job, he has the nerve to ask for more money, and they don’t move on. Letting Jeffy through a tantrum, deferring to Tommy’s ego…that’s not how you should run a baseball team. Send the kid to the minors, say good-bye to the veteran, and get on with more important business.

    I heard Keith on Buck and Kincaid a few weeks ago, and Buck asked about Heyward coming up and taking over left. Law wouldn’t have any of it and said that Francoeur was done, and that he’s just a placeholder in right until Heyward was ready. Buck (who has a man-crush on Jeffy) gave an audible groan as Kincaid burst into hysterical laughter.

  98. td,

    On the #5 starter and the “need” for Glavine.

    Jo Jo Reyes has pitched extremely well at AAA in each of the last 2 years. He has to translate that at the ML level. He either will succeed to a point (thus setting his likely ceiling as either 3, 4, or 5 starter, or maybe as a LOOGY or 7th ining lefty out of the bullpen)) or he will wash out. Morton hasn’t had quite as much time at AAA or shown quite as much dominance, but he is basically in the same boat. Campillo has shown dominance at AAA. He also has been extremely good at ML level for 2/3rds of a season. has the league caught up with Campillo, or did Campillo run out of gas? This season will tell.

    The Braves will accomplish nothing on their development by sending any of them down. We may get a benefit by being able to “warehouse” them and use them later (as a player or in a trade).

    KLaw is overstating where Hanson is in his development or else his own analysis of Hanson as a prospect is flawed. Hanson needs to go down and pitch at AAA. Arb / FA eligibility timeline of June 10 saves a whole year of him. Glavine keping Hanson out of the start of the year rotation is a positive.

    BC has already indicated that the 5 spot is not needed before April 19. If he does a true 5 day rotation, then #5 will only get around 20 starts.

    Bennett might have potential and Carlyle has a little.

    So, even if you only spend 3 million on Glavine, this 3 million (well, not really, Morton and Reyes get a minimum of $150,000 at AAA and inimum of $400,000 at ML so it is actually more like 2.5) isn’t available for the other needs (like an outfielder).

    And, what is the likely difference between Glavine’s performance and the other primary 3 (Campillo, Reyes, Morton). Glavine is a 5 to 6 inning pitcher at an almost 5 ERA at this point. Campillo, Reyes, and Morton all project at similar ERA, but with more inning upside. Campillo’s style says he could pitch 8 occasionally (and do a 2 inning bullpen session every time the 5 spot is skipped). They each could be valuable pieces going forward. Glavine is not.

  99. Belue is a self-absorbed gas bag with an unlistenable schtick. Now, he’s started interrupting his co-host incessantly.

    I thought that was reserved for the know-it-alls on The Sports Reporters.

  100. Another thing about signing Glavine:

    Who does it bump? Carlyle? Buddy was one of the few value players we had last year, performing well beyond his contract. Kinda the anti-Hampton.

    That would be a real shame if lost Carlyle so we can feel the buzz of nostalgia.

  101. I think Carlyle was a long-shot to make the 25-man, anyway, hank. I’d guess it bumps Campillo, which is even more tragic, IMO.

  102. There are a lot of teams with worse #4 and #5 starters and #2 bullpen lefites, and #3 bullpen righties than a lot of guys we will end up releasing by the end of spring training.

    We need to trade for an outfielder to get something out of those pieces. Like to the Nats or to the Pirates.

  103. If you don’t believe there is a Major League team with worst projected outfielders on their current roster than the Braves have on their current roster, then take a look at the Cincinnati Reds.

  104. “I don’t think that Keith’s problem was so much with Glavine’s pitching, but that the Braves are bending over backwards to offer the guy a job, he has the nerve to ask for more money, and they don’t move on. Letting Jeffy through a tantrum, deferring to Tommy’s ego…that’s not how you should run a baseball team. Send the kid to the minors, say good-bye to the veteran, and get on with more important business.”

    Yes, the Braves have become the new Houston Astros. Or perhaps they’ve morphed into the baseball equivalent of Willy Loman.

  105. take a look at the Cincinnati Reds

    I’d swap Francouer for Jay Bruce straight up right now.

  106. Hampton’s irregular heartbeat is probably just a regular one, but since everything on his body is broken, they didn’t get the beat they were expecting and panicked.

  107. @120+ or so: Wow, I’ve never had so many people run with an analogy I put together in five minutes.

    @120: I am aware of the idea of sunk-costs, and nowhere in my analogy do I suggest that Francoeur should be valued at what we paid for him, or what his value may have been a year or two ago. The point I was making was that Francoeur’s value has clearly hit the floor. We can’t trade him for anything at this point, at least nothing worthwhile. However, if Francoeur puts up another season like 2007, or a pair of seasons like ’06-’07 his value will rise exponentially. SO even if you don’t think Jeff can play in the long run, it makes no sense to non-tender him, especially given the complete lack of in-house replacements (there aren’t really any replacements available in FA now either, and probably weren’t many to begin with, considering only RFers.) Even at $4 million (which we all know he won’t get) Jeff isn’t an expensive starting outfielder, and he isn’t taking playing time away from viable options with anywhere near the same ceiling that he has.

    Of course if you do think Jeff might be able to play in the long run, an opinion for which there is loads of supporting evidence both statistical and anecdotal, then it is a no-brainer to give him another shot.

    Listen guys, if we had a real trade offer for Francoeur, I’d be more than willing to give it consideration, but no offer exists, and you can’t seriously suggest dumping a high-ceiling guy like Francoeur to save out on what amounts to chump change in MLB (somewhere around $2.5-$3 million.)

  108. @153-154: While I would consider a Francoeur for Bruce deal, and I would’ve guessed it was a no-brainer before I started a comparison. After a brief look, I’m not sure I’d take it right away.

    What has Bruce done that Jeff hasn’t done before? Bruce’s ’08 looks awfully similar to Jeff’s ’05 (with a much lower average and slugging.) His minor league numbers before then are moderately better than Jeff’s, but not at an eye-opening level. He clearly isn’t anywhere near the same level defensively, probably will end up in LF eventually, but is likely better suited to put up power numbers (though possibly struggling to hit ML pitching at a reasonable average.) You’d also have to consider Jeff’s durability as a plus, though Jay hasn’t provided any reason to question his.

    After the brief once-over, just in terms of where we are as an organization, and the trade value of the two, I guess I would probably take Bruce for Jeff straight up… of course this is ultimately silly, because the Reds wouldn’t even begin to consider that deal.

  109. How in the world is a career .285 .328 .480 minor league line similar to a career .308 .366 .555 minor league line? Bruce’s minor league numbers are worlds better.

  110. Did y’all look at the pictures on the AJC? Joseph Reyes is sporting a killer neckbeard.

    Gadfly, give it up.

  111. 159: the thing to remember is that even if Bruce had just done exactly what Francoeur did in ’05, and even if his minor league numbers were exactly equal to Francoeur’s, I still would trade the Francoeur we have for the Bruce-Francoeur.

    Frenchy wasn’t going to spend the rest of his career duplicating 2005, but with all the information we had, we were right to expect way more than we have gotten so far.

  112. Gadfly, you’re now arguing that Francoeur for Bruce might not be a trade the Braves? If you had any credibility left, it is now gone.

  113. “but with all the information we had, we were right to expect way more than we have gotten so far.”

    we should expect more from every player to ever come through Atlanta to give us more than Jeff has

  114. I also do not think it is clear that Francoeur will lose his arb case. I am sure that his agents will argue the PT angle. Maybe this will make more sense than the OBP defense.

    I am not quite clear on the Braves’ options with Francoeur after arbitration. I know he is not out of options and under team control for 3 more years. Would someone explain what the Braves can do with him after the arb decision and what that will cost them?

  115. @167,

    Well, given their treatment of Francoeur up to this point in his career, I’m inclined to say that they are likely to suck it up and play him in right come hell or high water (or sufficient backlash from the fanbase, whichever comes first).

    What they should do, however, is designate him for assignment, then try to trade him; if they can’t find a suitable trading partner, just cut the rope and let him latch on with another team on a minor league deal, in which case we would be liable for 1/6 his salary per arbitration (roughly 500 grand).

    That assumes, of course, that Jeffy won’t accept an outright demotion to Gwinnett. Which he probably won’t.

  116. Parish, they can, regardless of the arb hearing outcome

    1. Send him to the minors and pay his full salary
    2. Keep him in the bigs and pay his full salary
    3. Cut him within 16 days before the season begins, and be liable for 30 days’ termination pay.
    4. Cut him during spring training but after the 16th day before the season begins, and be liable for to 45 days termination pay.

  117. Worlds Mac? Really? If those are really worlds apart, then Jeff’s first season, or even his first 100 or so games, was at least a world better. I would usually put more stock in 100 games of ML stats over 350 minor league ones with only about 100-150 above A ball, but I’m willing to call that a wash. Then, if you look at defense and durability, I’d say Jay at the end of ’08 looks pretty comparable to Jeff at the end of ’05. Obviously this is all academic, but I’m not sure how someone could get that excited over Jay Bruce, and be so willing to give up on Jeff already.

    As for the other comments, you must have missed when I said: “After the brief once-over, just in terms of where we are as an organization, and the trade value of the two, I guess I would probably take Bruce for Jeff straight up…” I’m not sure I’d use the term probably if I were to write it again, but I’m still no more sold on Bruce than I was on Jeff in ’06, and as I said the Reds aren’t going to trade Jay Bruce for Jeff, they probably wouldn’t even trade Jay Bell for Jeff.

  118. Ole Chino “Fupa” Cadahia is back at it with his catcher-coaching duties. I’ve always wondered how that man would have played catcher without tipping over and wallowing around on that fupa.

  119. I think we’d all chip in for moving expenses (with one notable exception) if that’s what it would take.

  120. Gadfly, what statistical and anecdotal evidence is there that Francoeur might be a good baseball player? I’ve watched him for 3+ years and the only time he seemed good was the first month and a half where pitchers were testing to see if he could hit a fastball. Ever since then he’s been below average at best.

  121. I just bought an expansion franchise called the “Chuck Norris Nunchuckers”. Maybe I can get francoeur and bruce on my team and let the best nunchucker win. my post is about as equally ridiculous as any of these jay bruce/jeff francoeur posts. just trying to keep the blog focused on the prize: OLD VETERANS!!!

  122. @179: He hasn’t been below average at best, that’s just an absolute abuse of language.

    Jeff’s ’05 was stellar, ’06 was average or close, ’07 was above average, ’08 was abysmal, but even that year he managed to put two different months of above average play together. Jay Bruce’s best month in the majors (not counting the 5 games he played in May) was pretty good (sort of like Jeff’s best month in ’05,) but Jeff has equaled his second best month at least twice a year over the last 4 seasons.

    For those of you who are talking about shipping Jeff to the minors: name me one attainable replacement that is even in the discussion from a defensive standpoint, or has anywhere near the ceiling of Frenchy. (Hint: it isn’t Jason Perry.)

  123. 8 slots left in the fantasy league

    Yahoo League ID: 96336

    Draft is Saturday, Feb. 21 at 11:00am EST

  124. the ceiling of Frenchy

    You keep saying this. At what point is the “ceiling” pretty close to his actual stats? Somebody once told me 100 games in MLB told them more about a player than 350 minor league ones…well, what do TWO THOUSAND ML AB’s tell you? Perhaps a bit more than the first 250? And I wouldn’t go bragging on his supposed defensive brilliance either – hardly a Mays-esque line.

    Oh don’t bother. Successful troll is successful.

  125. Everybody, thanks for the comments on Frenchy and the details of the Braves’ options with him. I am always impressed with the baseball knowledge from this group of posters.

    It sounds like there is no way the Braves cut ties with Frenchy this year, unless it is to spite him for a ridiculous arbitration outcome (totally unlike the franchise).

    To trade is truly selling way low. Cutting him in Spring Training, as ridiculous as this may sound, would be premature.

  126. @186: I was using Jeff’s stats to question everyone’s sudden man-crush on Jay Bruce. As I said before I’d take Bruce for Jeff, but that deal ain’t gonna happen. Comparing where Bruce is now to where Jeff was after 100 games is an interesting exercise, however.

    I’m pretty disinterested in defensive stats, but if Jeff has really dropped the weight he added last year, and gained flexibility, he’s more likely to be at 2007 Gold Glove level than his 2008 numbers. (And I love how the “troll” is the guy who is just trying to say a player on the team this blog celebrates doesn’t “suck.”)

    @184: I might give you Schaefer in another month, but let’s see him play some Grapefruit League games first. Of course that also would necessitate Josh Anderson in CF, which I’d also have to try out in the Spring. I think that’s about the only real option at this point, and I’m sure it will come up if Jeff struggles to start, and those guys put up good production.

  127. The playing time argument is a killer. Jeff Francoeur may actually win his arbitration case.

    If you were a judge on that panel who never saw a Braves game or Jeff Francoeur play, wouldn’t you be asking yourself: “if this Francoeur guy sucks as much as the team says, why’d they give him more plate-appearances than anyone on the Braves team this past season and start him in all 162 games in 2006 AND 2007 and let him start more games than anyone for the Atlanta Braves these past three years combined”?

    Hard to argue how awful someone is when you keep playing him every single day.

  128. In arbitration, it’s all comps. I don’t think there is anyone in Jeff’s service class with comparable stats AND playing time that would justify $4 million. If Jeffy’s agent argues that his playing time is comparable to some other highly-paid players, the Braves can just say, “yes, he played a lot, but he played much better that Jeff.”

    If Jeffy is going to win, he’s going to have to win on the popularity card. As much grief as Jeffy gets online, he still gets plenty of cheers at Turner Field. If I’m Jeffy’s agent, I pull this August advertisement from the Braves website (I think it is admissible since it is Braves advertising) and blow it up on poster board. The message is, “yeah, even though he sucks on the field, he’s plenty valuable to the Braves…and they think so too.” I suspect they’ll bring in Q-scores and such to show his marketing power. Then the player comps become less relevant.

    I still think he’s going to lose (I think the Braves offer is just about right for on-field play) but I see his off-field popularity as his only avenue for winning.

  129. I’m pretty disinterested in defensive stats,

    …and anything else that doesn’t support your position. BTW, I was referring to the fact that I was successfully “trolled”, or baited, into constructing a response to your latest “assertion” when I know full well there is NO argument that will sway you. You really aren’t interested in a search for the truth, which is what an argument is, as opposed to somehow converting others to your POV. You have made up your mind, and facts that can be construed to support it are valuable and those that do not are meaningless.

  130. I understand the marketing angle. FO thinks (with reason) that Frenchy is an attendance draw. What I don’t think they’re understanding is just how shallow that support really is. Wide, but shallow.

    If he starts poorly, it’s going to get ugly. Then, where are we?

    This is why you only make decisions based on putting the best product you can on the field. All this talk of Griffey and Glavine bringing “excitement” scares me.

    Winning is exciting. You can have the rest.

  131. @194: I don’t know where you get that idea Spike. Actually defensive stats support my position on this one, which is to say that if Jeff returns to his 2007 form we’d have clearly been ignorant to cut ties with him. I’ve never tried to justify Jeff’s 2008 (except to point out the two 30 game stretches at the beginning and end of the season that were productive,) and I would include the defensive struggles in the benefit of the doubt that I think he earned with his ’05 and ’07 production. As for defensive stats, I just don’t put much stock in a bunch of guys with clipboards, or weird computer analyses.

    As for changing my mind, in my last post @190, I’d say I gave up some ground to Ethan, and he didn’t even have to support his argument with facts. Sadly, I haven’t actually been faced with much in the way of an argument, but rather a bunch of assertions, and I admit hearing person after person say “Francoeur sucks” isn’t going to sway me. I wouldn’t bother coming in here if I didn’t think I’d get some interesting discussion, maybe open someone else’s eyes a bit, and hopefully get a better understanding of where I’m coming from too.

    On the contrary, I don’t know how you get off calling my posts “assertions,” but they’ve all been backed up by stats. You might not agree with the conclusions, and there might be other stats that suggest different judgments (like 2008,) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fact-supported arguments.

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