Braves beat Yankees, matters even less than usual

Boxscore: NY Yankees vs. Atlanta – March 4, 2009 | News

With Captain America and Dr. PED off representing various countries, it’s hardly the Yankees, is it? Kotchman doubled in a couple of runs. The Braves had six hits, but five of them were doubles. Francoeur, who is hitting .091, not that it matters, had only one PA then left for his annual party to celebrate Vivaldi’s birthday. The Immortal Reid Gorecki had another hit and played center field — watch out, Josh Anderson!

125 thoughts on “Braves beat Yankees, matters even less than usual”

  1. From previous thread:


    What Alex said. If you want to argue that Frenchy was no worse than average in 2006-2007, that’s fine, but you can’t realistically say that he was an above-average corner outfielder. Moreover, saying he is above average relative to other lousy outfielders isn’t helpful. Was he better than Austin Kearns? Perhaps, but Austin Kearns sucks. It’s like saying a country is richer than Sudan; that’s nice but so what?

    And there is a reason that “the mean is heavily weighted by the upper echelon of players.” The best hitters are usually corner outfielders for the obvious reason that they are easier defensive positions that focus on offense. I don’t know this for a fact, but I would bet that there are more corner outfielders in the Hall of Fame than any other position (other than pitchers) and many of those guys weren’t necessarily great fielders.

    Most of the value from those positons come from hitting. That’s why you don’t judge hitting by catchers and middle infielders by the same standards as outfielders. If Francouer was a shortstop, you could possibly say he was an above average hitting shortstop; as a corner outfielder, you cannot say that.

    Obviously, the Braves differ from most teams in that almost all of their production comes from the infield and catcher. But that has its own problems because these positons (especially catcher and middle infield)involve a lot of wear and tear on the player and they are more susceptible to injury; you can’t realistically expect Brian McCann to catch 150 games.

    So Francouer’s lack of production relative to better corner outfielders takes a real toll on the team, more so than, say, a poor hitting centerfielder.

  2. Gadfly,

    Again, even assuming that Frenchy deserved his Gold Glove, it just doesn’t provide that much added value to a corner outfield position. It’s like a pitcher that can hit; it’s nice but doesn’t trump his inability to pitch.

  3. Three scoreless, hitless innings from Kawakami coming off two scoreless the last time. That’s something.

    Francoeur and Prado tied at the bottom for major league hitters: both batting .091.

  4. @1:

    First off, Austin Kearns isn’t quite the equivalent of Sudan, and I wouldn’t say he “sucks” either. At least not if we’re using that term in any reasonable sense.

    More importantly, I might not have clearly expressed what I meant by the weighting down of the upper echelon of players. Every position has its stars, and corner outfield spots generally will have more than their share. However, when you look at the mean statistics they weigh according to every plate appearance, so that Vlad Guerrero’s 147 OPS+ in 660 PAs, counts for more than double of Cliff Floyd’s 102 OPS+ in 322 PAs.

    Again, it is the difference between finding the average production level of a group, and the production of the average member of the group. In 2007, Jeff’s OPS+ was right at that average level for corner outfielders. An average offensive player who also provides 162 games of exceptional defense and durability, sounds “above average” to me, but even if it is only average you certainly can’t explain the term “sucks” with this metric.

  5. @4,

    You don’t live in DC and haven’t seen Austin Kearns play much. :) Believe me, he isn’t very good; he is going to be a fourth outfielder soon.

    As I said, defense just doesn’t mean that much in a corner outfielder. Babe Ruth probably wasn’t the best defensive RF in his later years, but it hardly offset his offense. And, in this context, the only reason Frenchy could be considered “average” or slightly “above average” is that the guys below him are not very good. Your right fielder is supposed to be one of the best players on the team. I’m not saying he provided no value at all in 2006-07; I’m just saying that, in the context of evaluating his career and his “potential” he has never been a particularly good player.

  6. @2: Did you watch the Braves in 2007? Assuming Frenchy deserved his gold glove? You don’t have to assume anything, the guy earned it.

    John Walsh over at Hardball Times ran an interesting, though long-winded, calculation here:

    Its worth a read, but I’ll save you the suspense. By his account Francoeur ranked 2nd in the majors among RFers and saved the Braves about 12 runs with his arm alone. Add to that a +/- of +10, 7th among ML RFers, and you’ve got an exceptional right fielder.

  7. It’s pretty obvious to me that Francoeur was an above-average major-league RF in 2007, considering his defense and all. It’s also pretty obvious to me that he really, really sucked in 2008, which is a better predictor of 2009 than 2007 is.

    Francoeur sucks. Maybe he won’t forever.

  8. Gadfly,

    You pick and choose these stats to suit your purposes; you use the advanced stats when they support you and ignore them when they don’t. I will concede that he deserved the Gold Glove and that he saved a significant number of runs. And, as I said above, I’m willing to grant that he provided some value in those years relative to other possibilities (e.g., Raul Mondesi and Brian Jordan) but it’s irrelevant. It still doesn’t make him an above-average RF given the importance of offense.

    The issue is whether his 2006-07 seasons were good enough to suggest that (1) his 2008 season was an aberration; (2)he has potential to be a significantly above average right fielder; or (3) that if he recovers to 2006-07 norms, this would make him an above-average right fielder. Obviously, I say no to all three points.

  9. Haha, yeah, I haven’t seen much of Kearns, and only caught him live in a few games at the ol’ RFK in 2006 when I was living in DC. He seemed alright then, but he clearly never became the player he was supposed to be when he came up with the Reds. Still, Sudan seems like a stretch… maybe South Africa, who are tied with the Angels through 4.5 innings by the way.

    I’m not quite sure I get what you mean by “in this context, the only reason Frenchy could be considered “average” or slightly “above average” is that the guys below him are not very good.” These are all major leaguers we’re talking about here, even Jason Perry could turn around my fastball, and send my curve into orbit. In 2007, Jeff was better than half of major league corner outfielders with at least 100 PAs, compared to his peers that’s average, compared to the reader’s of this blog that is sensational.

    Now if someone wants to say that “in the context of evaluating his career and his “potential” [Jeff] has never been a particularly good player.” I’m not going to argue much, except to note the torrid stretch in the summer of ’05. However, when that phrase gets whittled down to “Jeff sucks” it seems clearly objectionable to me.

  10. If Anderson and Schafer are both really good in spring, and Francoeur keeps this up….maybe?

  11. Well I gotta run out to lunch pretty soon here, but real quickly:

    @8: I’ll agree 2008 scares me. I have yet to find a single measurement that doesn’t conclude that Jeff’s 2008 sucked, bad. However, if you look at other major leaguers throughout the years it isn’t uncommon to find a year, usually their 3rd or 4th full season, that is well below their standard season: Dale Murphy’s 1981, and Ron Gant’s 1992 are two examples of Bobby Cox-managed corner outfielders. Now neither of these troughs were anywhere near the same depth as Jeff’s, but relative to previous successes they were all good examples of steep declines. Murphy followed ’81 with back-to-back MVPs, and Gant’s next three seasons were the best stretch of his career despite missing an entire year with injury, so there is some reason to hope that Jeff returns to 2007 levels, or even better. I’ll admit, it is mainly hope though, and there are just as many reasons to expect it not to happen. I tend to optimism, and I’d suggest anyone who doesn’t should root for the Yankees, because being a pessimistic Braves fan would suck.

    @10: I don’t ever ignore “advanced” stats, but even the creators of these different metrics will tell you that they aren’t always perfect. There are some things in baseball that just aren’t modeled well when viewed from afar by complex statistical models. Situational hitting is one of these, and when looked at in depth it yields some interesting data in the case of Francoeur.

    As for your points: I hit #1 above, I’d say #2 and #3 are hard to say. Given only the statistical performance so far I’d agree it doesn’t look like Jeff will be a significantly above average player, but given his athletic potential and the mental and emotional inconsistencies that I’ve seen from him so far makes me hopeful that if he is ever able to overcome these inconsistencies he could be a “significantly above average right fielder.” Of course in 2009 he appears to be our best chance at a slightly above average right fielder, so until Heyward is ready to make the jump, or we add someone else to the mix, he’ll have to do.

  12. RE: YAND (Yet Another Nickname Discussion) from the previous thread.

    I’ve started calling the two players Heyman and Freeward for what it’s worth.

    Also, I do not know if anyone answered this Gadfly, but Francoeur was still complaining about his damaged relationship with the Braves at the end of the season because of the injustice of his demotion.

  13. @15: From what I’ve seen so far Anderson and Schafer have both impressed me, and Francoeur has yet to show he’s turned a corner. These games don’t really mean a whole lot though.

    That said, it makes more sense in my opinion to let Schafer mature another 50 games or so in Gwinett, and keep his arbitration clock from starting until June. This gives Jeff a couple months of relevant games to show that last May-August wasn’t the type of player that he is. If he can’t do that, and Schafer and Anderson both keep it up, I’ll be one of the first to welcome Jordan to the Ted. (Of course there might be an opening in left if Diaz doesn’t bounce back from injury, and/or Garret becomes the old man he is.)

    @18: I have heard people say this, but I haven’t actually seen any of the direct quotes. I’m not doubting that it happened, but I always like to judge people on what they said, not on what other people say they said.

  14. So here I am happily typing away on a dead thread. This from the (very end of) the last thread:

    Okay, not sure who here was saying that Jeff “sucks” because of his 2006-2007 production. I thought the point is that he “sucks” because of what he did last year — which was downright atrocious.

    Average (whether mean or median) has a fairly clear meaning when dealing with statistics, assuming as Gadfly rightly points out that we understand what we are comparing. Average is murkier when comparing disparate stats (offensive/defensive) and intangibles. I’d say I agree that Jeff’s overall production in 2006-2007 was something close to average for his position.

    Sucks, on the other hand, is quite hard to define in the abstract. But applying the wisdom of Potter Stewart, I can say without reservation that I know sucks when I see it, and Jeff Francoeur’s production sucked in 2008.

  15. @19 I don’t know how you missed those quotes. I was very disappointed to see them.

    I am in favor of Schafer starting in Gwinnett. He needs to learn to hit lefties. A month of spring training will not be enough to convince me he has learned.

    JeffK, I feel your pain. I seem to post on those dead threads consistently.

  16. @19 – If you read it in a newspaper or on the internet and reach a judgment, then you’re reaching that judgment based on what someone said Jeff said. Unless, that is, you somehow know his blogging handle and find him quoting himself on Braves Journal.

  17. Besides not spoiling Schafer in the near future, Jeffy needs to play in the bigs. He needs to prove himself or not and we better know by 2010.

  18. @21 — Thanks. I thought about asking Mac to do some of his wordpress magic so that we’d know when a thread is dead (for folks like me who miss his postings when a new thread is up), but then my conservative instinct returns and I figure I just need to figure that out for myself.

  19. i’ve grown weary of a blog where gadfly is 40% of the posts, 40% of posts are arguments to gadfly’s posts, and 20% is legit stuff. can we go back to the way things were? pre-gadfly?

  20. #8. That’s not 2nd in right fielders in fielding, it’s second on arm. That only part of the bigger picture and by far his biggest asset.

    I don’t see how you think he deserved his Gold Glove based on that alone and just ignore the 10 or so regular centre fielders.

  21. @21: Parish, I don’t live in Atlanta, and don’t read a whole lot of Atlanta-based media. I’m also not a big fan of news stories about people talking, and the few articles I did read were from the Braves site, which probably wouldn’t carry the more inciteful remarks.

    @20: Haha, yeah, I’ve been there too… dead threads and all. I have heard people disparage Jeff’s 06-07 numbers, which is what I object to. 2008 sucked, Jeff’ll be the first to admit that, but as I pointed out above, there have been other players who had similar year-long slumps. Also, if you look at Jeff’s March-April and Sept-Oct splits from ’08 they’re pretty close to his 2007 production, so there is reason to hope.

    @23: But they’re making direct quotations, and they have their credibility on the line to assure that those quotations are accurate. It’s a big difference.

  22. @30: I didn’t just quote the arm-based statistic, I also included +/- which takes into account the whole range of defensive plays. I’m not a huge defensive stats fan, so I’m a little rusty on supporting the argument with statistics, but watching Jeff in 2007 was enough to at least add him to the conversation. I’m also not a fan of giving a Gold Glove to the third best center fielder over the best right fielder, because in my experience center is a much easier position to play… you need to be able to cover more ground, but everything is in front of you, and generally pretty straight-forward.

    There is always a large pool of players who could deserve gold glove consideration, but I can’t think of anyone off-hand who was clearly more deserving than Jeff was in ’07. Care to jog my memory?

    @29: Sorry, just another dreadfully slow day at the office today… but wouldn’t you rather have those numbers instead of just 1/5th the posts?

  23. It’s a righteous thing to defend Francoeur’s 2007 season, but don’t chafe every time someone says he sucks. He does suck. He is in a persistent state of suck. He played 155 games last year and he absolutely sucked in probably 130 of them. That’s hard to do, but he did it, and he sucks.
    Why are we having this conversation?

    Good news on Kawakami, but I still wonder if we would have been better off using that money on a bat. I can’t say much because I had no problem with the signing at the time…

  24. I hate Frenchy.
    Do we still have to many players on our roster? I keep counting 41 plus Hudson on the DL as 42.

  25. I think Glavine is not officially on the roster yet and someone here said Lerew was dfa’d which should cover it.

  26. I saw JeffF on the MLB TV spring training show, and that jerk acted like the whole problem was him pressing, not “having fun and smiling”. It’s as if he thinks that smiling more and having more fun with his buddies is going to make pitchers stop throwing him balls outside, and make him stop swinging at them. There was some brief mention of working with some people over the winter, and something about him having Chipper and Terry P. help him do what he needs to do. The worst thing about JeffF is that I’ve never seen him admit his core problem yet, so I don’t know how he’s going to cure his problem. He also seems to think that his solution is “getting back to where he was” in some golden age of his past rather than admitting that his past just wasn’t good enough, and he needs to make serious fundamental adjustments.

  27. RE Frenchy:

    I’ve not really commented about Francoeur before (other than to appreciate others’ cleverness), but it seems like it’s been over-analyzed a bit.

    2005: Good
    2006: Bad
    2007: Average-ish
    2008: Beyond Horrible

    A fairly accepted truism is that the greatest predictor for future performance is past performance. Therefore, while he may have the PHYSICAL tools to break out and I may hope he breaks out, I can reasonably expect him to be varying degrees of bad.

    Obviously, we’ll see, but I think one would be misguided to have any real expectations for Frenchy this year. In any case, I know I don’t.

  28. “@29: Sorry, just another dreadfully slow day at the office today… but wouldn’t you rather have those numbers instead of just 1/5th the posts?”


  29. Francoeur has serious issues with delusions of grandeur.

    But, again, what can you expect from a former Clemson commitment.

  30. Don’t know if this has been discussed, but Bowman speculates on the bullpen:

    “The current favorites to begin this season in Atlanta’s bullpen are Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Peter Moylan, Blaine Boyer and left-handed reliever Boone Logan. Jorge Campillo or Buddy Carlyle will likely fill the role as long reliever.

    “(Kris) Medlen, Manny Acosta, Jeff Bennett and Stephen Marek appear to be the favorites to compete for the final two available spots. Eric O’Flaherty or Jeff Ridgway could also push Logan in the battle to serve as the club’s left-handed reliever.”

  31. @45

    I think he just means that we should talk about baseball stuff other than Gadfly’s obsession with Francoeur’s greatness. I’m down with that.

  32. No I don’t think I could takes Gadfly’s treatises on how Auburn’s and Tennessee’s seasons weren’t actually that bad.

  33. Via Mlbtraderumors…

    Concerning Barry Bonds in Washington:

    The Nationals will pass – manager Manny Acta told Chico Harlan of the Washington Post that “It’s not a match for us” while choking back laughter.

    I now like Manny Acta a lot more.

  34. Mac @ 38, the next time anybody regarding any sport mentions ceilings, I will be using that. I will give credit where credit is due though.

  35. “Well, you see, Tennessee didn’t really have that bad of a season. You take out their offense, defense, and special teams, and they really played some good football! They outscored their opponents every time they scored a touchdown, so the stats definitely show they were better than it looked!”

  36. In looking more carefully at the numbers you can clearly see that Tennessee scored a total of 208 points on the season and only gave up 201 points to their opponents. Since the object of the game is to score more points than the opponent, then I cannot comprehend why anyone would call their season unsuccessful, let alone say “it sucked”. They also went 22/22 on point after touchdown attempts, so by at least one measure their season was perfect.

  37. Yes! The ‘pre-Gadfly’ talk is back.

    ububba, what a letdown the trade deadline was today, nobody got moved. No sport’s trade deadline is any good anymore it seems.

    tommy hanson for 5th starter anyone?

    tommy hanson’s nickname should be Hoss or Horse.
    i kinda like horse.
    lots of fun drug tie-in quotes with a pitcher nicknamed horse such as:

    “Andruw Jones cant lay off the Horse!”

    and after Tommy Hanson clinches the division for the braves with a complete game shutout and the players celebrate:

    “All the braves are on the horse!”

    i should read a book.

  39. Does Tommy Hanson remind anyone of a younger version of Curt Schilling at a more advanced age ? Say Phillies and beyond Schilling ?

  40. I was just looking at splits, and Norton hits righties really well, but can’t hit lefties at all. Why did this guy get 40 ABs against lefties, when he only hit .167? Weird.

  41. Usually, Norton was already in the game when the other manager switched to a lefty, and Bobby didn’t want to blow another hitter (if one was available). One of the reasons Norton was so much better as a pinch-hitter than in non-pinch situations was that he was more likely to have the platoon advantage.

  42. Does EVERYONE have to have a nickname? The only one I am already committed to is Shredder for Kawakami.

  43. jj3bag,
    Devils picked up a D from Atlanta yesterday, but nothing huge. Nik Antropov to the Rangers isn’t exactly a big deal either.

    It’ll help NYR a little bit—without Jagr or Shannahan this year, their offense is woeful—but that team isn’t keeping me up nights. I just hope the Devils get to face them in the first round.

  44. ububba, unless they abolish the overtime rule and go to a shootout to decide games in the playoffs after the first OT, the Rangers aren’t winning anything, no matter who they play.

    I thought there would be more movement, but none of the guys everybody talked about, Bouwmeester, Tkachuk, etc, got moved. I think the Canadian media is becoming about as reliable as most of the stuff on MLB Trade Rumors these days.

  45. The salary cap has really made it more difficult to make deals since the lockout.

    Speaking of The Great White North: I’m going to Toronto next week for a convention. Kinda excited about it. Always dig going to Canada, where hockey talk is everywhere. And yes, the Leafs are in town.

  46. Nice, I would love to watch a game in Toronto or Montreal. One of these days, I want watch a game in each of the original six cities, even Detroit, as awful as that would be.

    Yeah, I think people this year were terrified to take on deals that didn’t expire at the end of the year, not knowing what the cap is going to be next year or the year after. Same thing that happened in the NBA I suppose.

  47. Toronto is heaven for the hockey fan. The Hockey Hall of Fame is there, too, complete with one of the 2 Stanley Cups. I made it to Maple Leaf Gardens a couple times in the ’90s, but haven’t been to the new place.

    Was in Detroit for Cup Finals week last summer. I had to do a booth at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival & I stayed in the NHL Finals’ host hotel.

    It was hysterical to hit the hotel bar, where you’d have these crazy electronic music fans sitting at the bar next to Barry Melrose or these crusty Canadian hockey people. I was loving it. Both groups were great.

    I can’t imagine the Avs-Wings rivalry is the same these days, though.

  48. @41: If your comment @56 is more in line with what you’d like to read on a blog such as this, then I guess I can imagine how my comments might not entertain you. Maybe I’ll try to pepper in a few more poorly constructed attempts at humor from now on.

    @36: Do you understand anything about psychology? There is a very good case to be made that Jeff’s problems come from psychological pressures. Swinging at bad balls, which is the root of Jeff’s problem, isn’t a physical issue. He’s simply trying to do too much.

    I’ve pointed out his situational splits before, but last season was another prime example. With Andruw in LA, Kotsay middling, and Diaz on the DL, the team looked to Jeff to provide offensive production from the outfield, and he buckled under the pressure. As for “getting back to where he was:” Where he was, was a 23 year-old providing average offensive production for a corner outfielder with exceptional defense and durability, and no sign that he had reached his peak… if he can overcome the psychological obstacles and get back to that trajectory he’ll do just fine, he might not be the reincarnation of Dale Murphy that people talked him up to be, but he’ll manage a nice long career somewhere in the majors.

  49. thanks for your blogging expertise gadfly. i will try to keep my childish humor at a minimum for you. ya’ know, i am an elementary school teacher. we cant all be psychologists. that’s what you are, right?

    francoeur’s shittiness is psychological? andruw jones, maybe, not jeff. you have to be good once in order to use that excuse.

  50. I like that Shredder has given up only 1 hit and no runs in 5 innings. I worry that he’s already walked 3 guys (against 3 strikeouts) in 5 spring training innings. I’m hoping he’s not a nibbler. We don’t need him getting any pitching advice from Jo-Jo Reyes.

    Gadfly, I know that up to now I haven’t been able to quit you… but I’m trying, hard, to be the shepherd.

  51. It doesn’t matter if Jeff’s problems are mental or physical, and it doesn’t matter how high your ceiling is if you aren’t reaching it.

  52. The idea that Jeffy acts as if he is such a good player that he can take one at bat and go play golf just galls the hell out of me. Certainly, there is such a thing as trying too hard in baseball (Kelly Johnson apparently is susceptible to that), but that doesn’t mean the opposite approach–I don’t give a damn–is correct.

    As for characterizing his career; not to beat a dead horse, but my point was that, obviously, his 2006-07 seasond did not “suck” but they weren’t nearly as good as people portrayed them and it is misleading to use them to ostensibly show that Frenchy is really a very good player and that last year was an outlier. If he returned to his 2006-07 performance, that would obviously be much better than last year, but it wouldn’t make him an outstanding player. If 2006-07 reflects his “potential” then he might be acceptable but nothing more.

  53. I’m tired of the Jeffy talk. He gets 150-200 PAs to show what he has. If he starts off hot, he’ll keep his job. If not, he’ll lose it. But by the end of the season, he’ll be the same player he’s been for the past three years.

    Never in the history of baseball has there been more discussion about what type of player someone after over 2,000 plate appearances.

    Jeff Francoeur is a mid-700s OPS hitter, which is on the borderline of being useful. He will likely improve slightly with age, but it would be a shock if he grows into anything special. He is what he is, this isn’t even interesting. What has become of Andruw Jones?—who went from stellar to horrible, overnight. Now, that is an interesting question.

  54. @72

    I don’t know. It boggles my mind. The only thing I can think of is that he hung on by his athleticism/reaction ability solely. And now that its dropped a little with the age increase, he’s got nothing left?

  55. The Vols were actually really good on D. However, they blew chunks everywhere else.

    Eric Berry is the man!

  56. Posnanski today:

    “(Royals general manager) Dayton Moore sure loves those ex-Braves, doesn’t he?”

  57. I was looking at the roster again, we are going to have to make some serious decisions on the staff.



    Do any have options left, i forget the list. I think I dislike the Glavine signing even more after seeing us have to cut or release someone who may be useful compared to him.

  58. We won’t have to cut anyone because of Glavine. Bennett, Carlyle, Campillo, Morton and Reyes all have options. The only reason Glavine is on the team is because Cox thinks it’s a necessity to have a lefty in the rotation. He has no confidence in Reyes – I think I agree with him on that.

  59. ububba, Do you know anything about the guy Atlanta got for the Havelid trade? Since it’s the Thrashers I think anything we get off the Devil’s scrap heap would be an improvement for my team.

  60. @73,

    Andruw is an extreme example, but I don’t think it’s that uncommon for players to suddenly fall off the table after a number of good years. Of course, back in the day, you could probably attribute it to lack of conditioning, falling prey to drink, or something else like that. I get the feeling that Andruw has sort of lost interest but isn’t really ready to retire.

  61. It was Vivaldi’s birthday, huh?

    Man, I am such an uncultured, slackjawed yokel compared to Jeffy. A true renaissance man, that Jeffy.

  62. Every time I’m reminded that Glavine is in our rotation, I get angry. I think a better question than what became of Andruw–or at least, more relevant for Braves fans–is why the organization stays so loyal to players like Francoeur and Glavine to the obvious detriment of the team. Leaving their baseball merits aside, as I too agree we know who Francoeur is, I want to know what the management plan is and why they insist on making the team something between a cross of 22-year olds and 40-year olds. I find it bizarre.

  63. @79, Alex you project 5 starters, 5 infielders, 4 outfielders (you counted Diaz here, and not on your bench), 6 bullpen, 6 bench. That’s 26.

    I don’t think we can carry a bench of 6. You project Infante, Prado, Norton, Ross, and probably Jones and Blanco… That has to go down to one of Jones and Blanco to make the numbers fit… Honestly, I think neither of them make it, taking the bench to 5 to facilitate a 7 man bullpen. Keep in mind, on any given day, Norton, Infante, and one of Anderson/Diaz is on the bench and can play OF.

    You’ve got Moylan, Gonzalez, Soriano, Boyer, Acosta, and a lefty. I think you have to add Carlyle or Campillo, making it 7. Assuming one of Moylan or Soriano starts on the DL, I think that means both of those guys make the cut, or one plus Medlen. I also think Acosta might be swapped out for Stockman, as Stockman has no options, and Acosta does.

  64. I forgot Bennett above. I think he makes it instead of Carlyle or Campillo.

    I guess it’s simpler to just say that I see:

    SP: Lowe, Vasquez, Kawakami, Jurjjens, Glavine – 5
    IF: McCann, Kotchman, Johnson, Jones, Escobar – 5
    OF: Anderson, Anderson, Francoeur – 3
    BN: Norton, Diaz, Infante, Prado, Ross – 5
    BP: Gonzalez, Soriano, Moylan, Boyer, Stockman, Logan, Bennett – 7

    And in the bullpen, if we start with anyone on the DL, Carlyle, Campillo, Acosta, and Medlen are the likely fill-ins. I can see it being Carlyle only because in the early going, Bobby will want multiple long-men, as early in the year he never stretches his starters. Any injury later on to Gonzalez, Soriano, Moylan, Boyer, or Stockman I see Acosta getting the call.

  65. ” rel=”nofollow”>…And after dinner, Jeffy treated his guests to a moving rendition of Vivaldi’s Harpsichord Concerto in A major (RV 780).

  66. @86, it’s funny because the same facial expression I took for consternation after one of his many 6-3 groundouts, appears almost like concentration over the keys of the harpsichord. Maybe he missed his calling…

  67. Here’s how I see the pitching staff starting the season



  68. Hap,
    The Finnish D (Salmela) we sent to Atlanta is supposed to be good, a real move-the-puck defenseman with genuine offensive skills.

    He had a bit of hype coming into the season. The original idea of acquiring him from his European team was to address the issues the Devils experienced from the departures of Niedermayer & Rafalski—both speedy D’s who can get the puck up ice quickly and play the point on the PP. They didn’t have that element last year & it cost them.

    Salmela started the season with the team, but I’m guessing that Devs’ GM Lamoriello didn’t like what he saw—too eager to score, not enough defensive responsibility— & sent him down. FWIW, that was right in the middle of the whole Brodeur injury & the Devs had a tough streak for a few weeks.

    I was slightly surprised that the Devs gave him up so quickly & I’d heard they offered a player on their existing roster to Atlanta for Havelid, but the Thrash insisted on Salmela. (I’m guessing it was Jay Pandolfo.)

    Jersey’s making a legit Cup run, so they wanted a talented D with experience—Havelid was on that Anaheim team the Devils faced in the ’03 Finals—and they pulled the trigger.

    You are right about one thing: If the Devils scouted him & acquired him, there’s probably some value. If you haven’t noticed, there are ex-Devils all over the NHL. (Though he likes a particular type of player, Lamoriello is considered the NHL’s very best talent evaluator.) This trade could be a win-win—Devs in the short term, Thrash in the long term.

  69. Hey now, Vivaldi was baroque, not Renaissance.


    (I only know that because I am a music major.)

  70. I’m well aware that Vivaldi was a Baroque era composer. I said nothing to the contrary. What I said is that Jeffy is a regular “renaissance man”, which just means that he’s well-rounded and cultured – which, obviously, he is.

  71. @71: Really Marc? You put that much stock in a single Grapefruit League contest, that you’re personally offended by Jeff only playing for part of it? Chipper’s only had 7 ABs in 3 games, he must be a real slacker, and Esco only has 8 ABs in 5 games, we really should’ve traded him to San Diego when we had the chance… There isn’t a single person alive who would stick around for a second at-bat in a spring training contest instead of going to play a round of golf with John Smoltz and Tiger Woods, can you really blame the guy?

    As for the rest, I pretty much agree. I’ve never said Jeff was “very good,” but honestly, we’ve been in need of “acceptable” outfielders for a while now, and if he can put up another 100-RBI season or two, with an average OPS, then we’re much more likely to actually get a GM or two interested if we have developed better options by then. I’m looking at you Dayton Moore!

  72. Hap, are you really a Thrashers fan? You are the first one I have have heard of.
    I Like the moves my Bruins made, but I really wanted Tkachuk, but we lost no one from the roster so I am pleased.

  73. Gadfly,

    You can’t seriously be comparing Jeff Francoeur with Chipper Jones. The point is his sense of entitlement to be treated not just as a player but as a star. Stars go off to play golf with Tiger Woods. It’s not necessarily his fault as much as the organization’s but it’s almost as if the Delta commercial has defined him regardless of what he actually does on the field. Remember, last year, he was one of the worst players in baseball. I sense too much certitude that all he has to do is relax and things will fall into place.

  74. On this day, Stu, I agree. At least on the basketball court.

    Now about that Top 25 Wildcat baseball team …

    A question for all you attorneys out there:

    Who’s going to win (and who should win) the Atlanta Spirit v. Belkin contest?

  75. I think mine would be titled, “LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAD UP THE BAAAAAAAASEEEEEHS!”

    which reminds me, I wonder what new vapid country music ad campaign FSN has in store for us this year…I’ve got a chubby at the mere thought of it. Baseball is almost back, mofos!

  76. @68&70: Mental problems are much more likely to be surmountable than physical ones. It isn’t easy to overcome mental pressures and anxieties, but it is a lot easier than adding another 7-8 mph on a fastball, cutting a second or two off a 40-time, or increasing bat speed by a considerable fraction.

    Jeff’s main problem, and I think we can all agree, is strikeouts, or more precisely swinging at bad pitches. Once he gets behind in the count he swings at worse pitches. He’s actually a pretty damn good player when he gets a good pitch to hit, just look at his Count Splits. With 2 strikes his career line is .168/.208/.269, which makes up 43.4% of his career PAs. With less than 2 strikes his line is .348/.391/.565. In comparison, McCann’s line with 2 strikes is: .231/.277/.378, without 2 strikes it jumps to .346/.413/.591. Brian only got to 2 strikes in 40.9% of career PAs, but the biggest difference is that Jeff strikes out 42.9% of the time after the second strike, while McCann only strikes out 29.3%.

    If Jeff could relax and approach these PAs the same way he approaches the others he could significantly improve. If he could half the difference in strikeout rate with McCann’s, and only strikeout in 36.1% after 2 strikes, and only reach 2 strikes in 42.1% of PAs, his career line would move to .284/.324/.459. That’s a jump of 37 OPS points all through minor mental adjustments: relaxing, going with the pitch, and learning to better recognize and adjust to the breaking ball.

    Remember, this includes the horrific May-August he put up last year, which accounts for 18.6% of his career PAs. While the outstanding July-August he had when he first came up only accounts for 8.1%.

  77. @101: I did think twice about including Chipper. Esco is a better fit in regards to playing time/stature… However, it is worth noting that Jeff has played in 549 Major League games since Opening Day of 2005 despite not joining the team until the middle of July, while Chipper has only played in 481. I agree that Chipper can do whatever the hell he wants, and Jeff should be on a shorter leash, but this is Spring Training, and Jeff shouldn’t be playing in every game, nor should he be completing every game this early in the year. I really can’t see fault in anyone in this situation.

    As for relaxing, I just posted a mini-analysis on what relaxing might be able to accomplish if it allows him to reduce strikeouts alone. I think last year was partly the result of increased pressure brought about by the departure of Andruw, and the insane amount of injuries in the outfield and pitching staff. Once the playoff chances evaporated, the pressure relinquished, and Jeff put up a pretty good 25-30 game stretch to end the year.

    When there is a lot to do Jeff tries to do too much, but when he can sit back, relax, and play his game he puts up some pretty decent production. I do worry that the media frenzy got to his head, and I just hope that last year quickly humbled him.

  78. I like how Chipper is essentially telling him to sack up.

    He’s pretty out-front in saying that Jeff came up in key situations numerous times last year and failed miserably and the fortunes of the Braves ride largely on Francouer’s ability to fix it. Maybe Wren and/or Bobby is listening.

  79. so frenchy walks on 5 pitches in first ab

    works the count in the second ab to 3-1, then hits 2 run hr. Is he deciding not to swing or is he laying off bad pitches??

  80. I just watched Danny Boyle’s first movie, Shallow Grave. It’s about 3 people — one of them’s Ewan McGregor — who find a suitcase full of money, the lengths they go to in order to keep it, and what it does to them. Bit like Slumdog Millionaire and Millions, in a way. He loves making movies about people who luck into tons of money, and seeing what happens. Shallow Grave isn’t his best, but it’s quick and leaves a mark. I’d recommend.

    Hell of a director.

  81. @ 108

    It’s bizarro world come to life. At least tell me it was a hard pull down the left field line.

    Next, we’ll hear Mac espousing the qualities/virtues of the Tennessee Volunteers/Peyton Manning.

  82. its funny, Arod is taking about 10 weeks off in order to get off the roids. We were probably offering the Yanks Prado and others for Swisher or Nady. Now it looks (MLBTR) that Prado and others could be on the Yanks radar for Arod’s short term replacement for a couple of weeks. Funny how things change so quickly. They needed to move an OF and we had someone that could provide them a little bit of value and they wanted more. So now, what would we want for Prado from the Yanks? However, I doubt they’re really that interested

  83. The worst part of the Ridgway deal is that Aybar would have been the perfect piece to trade for Swisher.

    Especially now that ARoid is out for ten weeks

  84. 3 earned runs in a third of an inning for Ridgway. Lord he sucks.

    The Braves don’t have the money for Swisher anyway. I think they’re tapped.

  85. oldtimer, I guess I’m just a homer… I was a Knights fan before the Thrashers came and I was a Flames fan waaaay back in the day. Even though the Thrashers are what they are it does provide me something to do when we have no baseball. I love that Hockey and baseball seasons almost perfectly compliment each other.

  86. Cynical about the cyst, are we?

    Went on another manic Virgin Mega-Store visit the other day—it’s going out of biz soon, so there are mad sales.

    Found a flick from the ’70s that I loved, Straight Time. It’s a very underrated Dustin Hoffman movie, told essentially from the criminal’s perspective. Has Harry Dean Stanton and Gary Busey in supporting roles. It’s from a book written in prison by Eddie Bunker (aka Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs).

    I had forgotten just how much material Tarantino straight stole from that movie (lots of stuff for Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.) It’s a grim flick, but very well done. Check it out, if you can find it.

    Got the new Springsteen & U2 CDs, too. So far, I’m liking The Boss better.

    I’m with ya on the hockey/baseball thing—covers the whole year.

  87. I have always thought the best thing about March Madness is that it ends at the start of the baseball season.

  88. Hap, thats cool, I thought the Thrashers would be better by now, the Heatley issue set them back a bit, they lost 2 good hockey players with that situation.
    Hockey is the perfect compliment to the baseball season.

  89. Fruto got the win. He actually pitched about 30 innings or so for the Mariners in 06 (not well, but he pitched). I want him to make the team for his last name alone.

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