Spring juggernaut rolls on

Boxscore: Atlanta vs. Florida – March 13, 2009 | MLB.com: News

Having the best record in the Grapefruit League and $4 will get you a cup of coffee.

Infante, one of four Braves with two hits each (team total 14) hit a two-run homer in a six-run fifth. Francoeur was 2-3 with two runs and two RBI before leaving because he had tickets to the Jonas Brothers movie in IMAX. Tommy Hanson didn’t do his best work, but allowed just two runs in 4 2/3. Klinger Parr — and I am not going to get into what he is up to in Sports Illustrated and I suggest you don’t either — struck out four in a perfect 2 1/3 and is not going to make the team. Freeman had a couple of hits off the bench.

206 thoughts on “Spring juggernaut rolls on”

  1. Ah. No comment.

    I’m gonna change the subject back to Dave Ross. At different times in the last few years, Ross has shown the ability to crank out HRs at almost double the league average, walk at least twice as often as average, or throw out a league-leading percentage of basestealers.

    He’s never done them all at once, or he’d be Gene Tenace. But the point is, he’s shown the ability to do any one of them at any one time. That in itself makes him a valuable backup catcher, because he’ll almost always have at least one peg to hang his hat on, and sometimes more than one. Don’t let the fact that it’s wrapped in a .220 average blind you to this.

  2. I buy the Ross signing. I think what he gives you is a glimmer of a chance if you have McCann go down for a 2 week stretch. He is nearly league average in OPS at one of the two hardest defensive positions. he is above average defensively.

    The Glavne and Smoltz thngs were both mishandled. I have a feeling aftr Junichi Tazawa turned the Braves down on countryman and cultural connections (to Red Sox who had Okajima and Matzusaka) they increased their interest in Kawakami and, at that point, with the Yankee’s biding A. J. Burnett out of sight and having to pay the top dollar to get Lowe, they probably were getting awfuly tight on projections. If so, FO should have come out and said something in a nice way about how much they liked both of those guys and how they would talk to them, but that, in order to sign the talent FO had said it wanted (backup catcher, at least 2 credible starters ready to go from day 1, a real outfield bat, that they had stretched to the wall.

    Still, I think the best Glavine can do at this point in his career is unlikely to exceed the best out of Reyes, Morton, Campillo, Carlyle, and Bennett. The problem with the “all call” is that we can’t know even now which of them is most likely to perform well.

    As to “we can just keep the extra pitchers”, that just isn’t true. We have guys out of options. I see the probability of about 2 credible ML relief pitchers having to be cut if they aren’t traded in the next 3 weeks (we might get “lucky” and start Soriano or Moylan or both on DL which would cover one of them).

    We still need a trade with the Cards for Ankiel (maybe for Prado or maybe for a young pitcher) and with the Yankees for Swisher (with Soriano going the other way).

  3. Seminoles slop out a win over Ga. Tech………….i swear, watching that team on tv is like seeing your own bones break on an x-ray machine.

  4. cliff, do you know who is out of options?

    From what I’m able to find, the only relevant pitchers out of options are Soriano, Gonzalez, Boyer and Stockman. Soriano, Gonzalez and Boyer are locks, and Stockman’s going to be on the DL with the herniated disks.

  5. who are the two your referring to cliff? if one of them is stockman, he’s likely going to the DL. I think one of moylan and soriano start on the DL and the bullpen starts out as:


    If both Moylan and Soriano are ready to go, then Bennett likely starts in AAA, even though i’m not psyched about Acosta.

    Even still, Stockman was likely the only guy we would have lost but he’s likely to end up on the DL now. Now we could sign ohman and send logan down too, which would be outstanding.

  6. I may be wrong. I have seen a pretty good list. But I think Carlyle is also out of options.

    I also believed when arriving at my 2 or os number, I was anticipating 2 lefthanders in the bullpen. I believe not picking up Ohman or Joe Beimel or somebody is a major mistake. Twice in the 6th through 8th inings we need to be able to bring in a competent Major League lefthander.

    So, I had assumed that Stockman was a useful piece that would be lost. Also, Carlyle. And, if we picked up a lefty, maybe one more. Plus, I still think carrying 12 pitchers the first 3 weeks when you have an off day so often you don’t even need a 5th starter, is crazy anyway.

  7. I hadn’t seen that Carlyle is out of options, but it seems like he ought to be. In any case, I don’t think he’s a huge loss, if we keep Campillo and Bennett.

    I also wonder if, even though Gonzalez will get to wear the title of “Closer,” if Utley, Howard, and Ibanez are coming up in the 8th, if we won’t see him then and Soriano in the 9th. That was the thinking two years ago, and we really haven’t seen alot of the bullpen with both of these guys in it.

    Also, I think carrying 12 pitchers is especially important early. Bobby always seems to pull his starters at about 85 pitches the first time through the rotation.

    Here’s my bullpen:

    Logan/O’Flaherty (I don’t know enough about either guy to handicap that race.)
    Carlyle (Only if he IS out of options, Bennett if he isn’t)
    Campillo (long man)

  8. Carlyle is not out of options.

    Don’t want to open up the issue, but Parr’s answer is stupid. What else are we supposed to talk about? The man is an important figure.

    I’m all for signing Ohman. You never know if O’Flaherty or Logan is going to go Ring on us.

  9. Sorry to change the subject, but does anybody read Murray Chass?

    He is a first-class toolbox.

    I just went by his site today, and amongst the other things that made me want to pull my hair out, a week ago he wrote an article explaining that Mike Piazza is a cheater because he always had acne on his back. Then in the following column, Piazza’s teammate and college roommate emailed him and said “Mike had the same acne in college, and he wasn’t using steroids then.” Murray actually asks “Just because Piazza didn’t use steroids as a college player, what did that have to do with the possibility that he used them as a professional player?”


  10. If you want a tool, Jay Bilas (it’s an Insider column, so I won’t link) wants to kick automatic qualifiers from smaller conferences out of the NCAA tournament in order to let in more mediocre teams from the power conferences.

  11. didn’t read the article, but heard him on Mike & Mike & various other podcasts and it seemed to me like his point wasn’t that the small conference schools get in, but that a team from a small conference that has had an otherwise crappy season, but three good games in a season ending tourney gets in over a more deserving team from that conference. Given how many 1’s fall to 16’s or even 2’s to 15’s, his argument has at least some merit, no?

  12. #16–Agreed–Bilas is a blowhard….

    With respect to Parr, he is not likely to be hired to commentate on politics, but he did not say anything derogatory, so I don’t see what the fuss is. In fact, it tells me more about SI than about Parr or Obama….

  13. I’m fine with changing the bids to conference champions (as defined by the conference) rather than just the winners of the conference tournaments. Though maybe the conferences would prefer to have their tournaments mean something and hence keep the bids with the tournament champs.

    Bilas’s suggestion may make for a better NCAA tourney pool, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option.

  14. @13: He didn’t say you couldn’t talk about him… just that he had heard enough. I think that’s a fair point. The whole “With the economy, he acts like it’s America’s own fault we’re in this” gets a little closer to idiotic, but he’s a baseball player, so I’ll give him a pass.

    Plus, he’s a good friend of mine’s best claim to athletic fame, as he once drew a walk off the guy in a little league game when he was 10 or something, and came around to score the winning run.

  15. I agree with Stephen’s comment on Parr. I happen to agree with him in some ways, but that’s irrelevant. From what I heard, he wasn’t spouting off his mouth and trash talking Obama. He just chose to give his opinion and SI chose to include it – not a big deal either way.

  16. Yes, preseason is endless.

    If I hear that insipid song they play on MLB Network on “30 Teams in 30 Days” one more time, I’m gonna go Elvis on my flat screen.

  17. Whatevs. Boggs and Grace said far worse things about the Clintons. Granted, they are both pretty jerky guys to start with and I hope Parr isn’t, but right or wrong, it’s the attitude one would expect from (potential) millionaires in any industry.

  18. @26: What attitude is that? Honesty? Whether or not James is onto something is besides the point. It is what he “is sick of hearing about” and so he gave the honest answer. Kudos for honesty!

  19. honesty is third on the Braves’ list of desirable qualities in a player behind Blind, apparently blind, pretends to be blind, swings blindly and formerly played for the Atlanta Braves

  20. I regret the choice of word “attitude” as I did not mean it in a pejorative sense. I should have said “opinion”.

  21. Fair enough Spike. Online communication lends itself easily to poor word choice, so I won’t hold it against you.

    @33: Yeah, Frenchy is the king of the single so far this Spring. I would like to take that as a sign that he is actually relaxing at the plate, and not trying to crush everything out of the park, but I haven’t seen enough at-bats firsthand to say that with conviction. No strikeouts, and a .394 OBP through 31 PAs are also uplifting stats, but we’ll see if he keeps the same approach when the games actually mean something. Not that anyone else cares, but he also has his usual 1+ RP/Game with 14 despite only playing 4-6 innings a day.

  22. Frenchy now batting .333 still no K’s

    Oh boy, that is going to make the Francoeur apologist crowd pretty insufferable.

    What bothers me the most about that crowd is how they seem to think he was good in 2006 (“get Frenchy back to his 05-07 level”).

  23. Oh, BTW, was driving my brother-in-law down to help my mother-in-law move and he got a call from a local hip-hop artist wanting him to lay down some guitar (he plays in a little metal band normally) for a song for one of the Braves to come out to, and/or use in adverts. Of course BIL doesn’t follow and has no idea who it was for.

  24. Just got in from the Alabama-Georgia doubleheader and for you UGA fans—–you got smoked, 9-5 and 11-5, respectively. And what makes it even better—both winning pitchers (Austin Hyatt & Adam Morgan) are GA natives as well as DH/1B Brandon May, who hit a Grand Slam in the 1st inning of Game 2. So much for #1 Dawg fans, I’m glad ya’ll skated through your joke non-conference schedule because the real games have started. Now, hopefully we can show up and finish off the sweep tomorrow.

    Matt Cerione is a doosh. Roll Tide.

  25. Cool – internecine trash talk about college baseball.

    Speaking of hatin’ your brother, I heard a fascinating story today.

    This guy worked in the strength and conditioning business and about ten years ago shared an office with a guy who had some connections with a certain newer member of the SEC.

    It was down to two SEC teams for the services of a certain running back. The connected fellow told my friend that he was taking a brown paper bag filled with $50,000 to said running back. The next day, he announced for the highest bidder.

    Apparently, the head coach knew nothing about it and a trail of plausible deniability was established.

    Do I believe it? Yeah, I think I do.

  26. “#29, slugging .333 too, isn’t he?”

    yeah in the grapefruit league he is, I think he did hit a HR against Venezuela’s WB team

  27. #44–Given that stories grow with the telling–I don’t exactly believe it. That said, it sounds like Kentucky basketball in the mid-80s….

  28. @45 – I think it was off of one of our minor leaguers that we lent them.

    Gadfly – I didn’t mean to say that Parr is claiming we can’t talk about something. But it’s silly to basically say you’re sick of hearing about current affairs. He just wants to stick his head in the sand? Fine, say you’re sick of hearing stories about the economy trending downwards. But his statement is asinine. He’s heard enough? Obama’s been in office 55 days and Parr’s heard enough? How did Parr feel about Clinton in early 2001?

  29. Well given that James Parr turned 15 in 2001 he probably didn’t have too many fully formed opinions on the Clintons at that time… actually given that he’s only 23 now, and a professional baseball player he probably hasn’t spent enough time to make fully formed opinions about Obama. That said, he wasn’t opining about Obama, but about the media coverage of Obama. It didn’t take 55 days, Barack hadn’t won the Democratic nomination, and I had heard more about him than a number of more important figures and events involved in current affairs. James wasn’t making a political statement as much as a social one, and I’m all for the public taking the media to task over their political coverage. I don’t think James was saying we shouldn’t talk about Obama, as much as he was saying the media should stop fawning over the guy… Now you might disagree with his assesment, but he was only stating his opinion.

    Meanwhile, in baseball news, the kid is looking pretty good out there. Obviously this is just Grapefruit action, but 7 Ks in 6 1/3 innings with only 3 hits, no walks, and one unearned run allowed isn’t too shabby. Just don’t turn on MSNBC when he’s in the locker room…

  30. Greetings from Toronto…

    Went to a Maple Leafs-Tampa tilt the other night & sat next to some Univ. of Kansas kids who worked the WBC games. [It was an SID/press assistant capacity.] They said the USA-Canada game was off the hook, but the other games were deadsville at Rogers Centre.

    Hard to have an MLB baseball conversation here with the locals. It’s all Leafs all the time. I’m fortunate that I can talk the hockey language (and I dig it), but the Jays seem like an afterthought.

    There was a Pistons-Raptors game here last night and a buncha Detroit people were here. Tonight it was Flames-Leafs and lotsa folks from Western Canada. No baseball, really. Maybe that’ll change in a couple weeks with the Leafs out of the playoffs, but not now. Nonetheless, I do like this town.

    Hit us Dawg people back when you book your ticket to Omaha.

    And when’s the last time y’all made the CWS finals? When’s the last time you won it?

  31. A discussion about the James Parr’s intellectual and political evolution….yes, clearly we need the season to begin!

  32. Don’t know what Parr said and don’t care.
    I really try to ignore the political statements of professional athletes and Hollywood stars. I cannot give credence to their opinions over those of people who actually live in the real world. Plus, listening to too many of their generally asinine statements would ruin my ability to enjoy the entertainment they provide.

  33. Anybody else a little more excited about Vazquez after seeing him pound that fastball right at the knees last night? And the breaking ball looked pretty sharp, too.

    In the early going of his start against, I believe, Panama, he was nibbling. But he started going after guys in that game, and all night last night he went right after guys.

    I think we bought low on a solid number 2.

  34. @48 & 49 – I actually agree with Gadfly’s asessment (please don’t anyone hold that against me at a later date and time). It was more of a social statement than a political one. I mean, I was hearing about what kind of dog the man was going to bye for over a month. Every moment of this man’s life seems to be chronicled by the media (i.e. ‘He missed church today to work out in his personal gym instead’). Talk about assinine.

  35. Dont know what Parr said and dont care. He’s entitled to his opinion and has the ability to voice that opinion. I can do the same and Im sure some people wont agree with my thoughts on Obama either, but I wont do it here

  36. Stockman, released?

    Another guy who looked really good but never got a chance here. This was more of an injury issue than a Bobby issue.

    Still, I hope he is retained in the organization and it’s just a DFA. Otherwise, I could see him being a lights out setup man for someone who recognizes peripheral pitching stats.

    That is, of course, presuming he is ever healthy.

  37. I should also say that I really found that pitching matchup last night intriguing for Braves’ fans.

    Vazquez made it look like we traded for the better of the two pitchers. And I guess he can, at least occasionally, come through under pressure.

    I am also beginning to think that had we picked up Peavey, we would have found that he was no better than a number 2 away from Petco.

  38. @61 – I never was all that impressed with Stockman. I didn’t get to see him much, but when I did, it just seemed to me that his fastball was much too straight. I know that his stats looked really good when he was called up and able to pitch, but I believe it would have eventually caught up with him. However, I am no scout and don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about – just what I observed.

  39. Frenchy is the absolute master of the single this spring. Is he just getting lucky on groundballs through the infield, or is he actually getting some of these via line drive? Hard to tell when you can’t watch the games and you see he is getting nothing but singles…

  40. I am not able to watch many of these games–so this is really speculation: but many pitchers prefer to rely on fastballs–especially during the first half of spring training–I am afraid that when many of these hurlers deploy their full aresenal of pitches Frenchy will find hitting more challenging. Right now the pitches he sees may be a little more towards the middle of the plate. Again, that is to speculate….

  41. #65 – you have a good point, but he’s also laying off more of the pitches off the plate. Im ready to be able to watch his AB’s and get a better feel or what he’s going to look like.

  42. wren was interviewed today in about the 5th inning. he hinted around that we are not done dealing. he also said, “right now, i dont know where the power is going to come from.”

    he also talked about the surplus of starting pitching and that many of our options that arent even going to start for gwinnett are 5th starter candidates for other clubs. interesting stuff.

  43. I would actually include the clock operation in the term officiating.

    The last time they fixed the clock, it looked like they did not realize they had failed to start it for two consecutive plays. There is no way only 1.3 seconds ran off in those two plays combined.

    I am glad for Miss St. It looked like, if they had lost, several questionable calls at the end could have been blamed. All of that and the extra time given was not enough for Tennessee, though.

  44. That officiating was piss-poor, and the clock operation was even worse. Not only did it not start for two straight plays, but it started late on the last play… I’m not sure the extra time really mattered in the end, but that’s just an embarrasment for the conference.

    From what they’re saying about Stockman, I’m guessing he’s done for the year, or at least the better part of it.

    About today’s game: who knew Jose Capellan was rounding into form? And, yes, I can’t wait to actually watch some baseball… as much as I’ve always loved boxscores, they get a little old after a while…

    @52: I’m not sure James Parr should really be considered outside of “the real world,” but I get your point. I wouldn’t put any authority behind his remarks, but I actually think he’s probably a pretty good representation of what 20-something, apolitical types might be thinking.

  45. Wow. My wife surprised me with an entirely planned trip to spring training this week. I’m going down on Thursday and catching 3 games (Tigers, Marlins, and Mets). She booked plane tickets, hotel room, game tickets, and even arranged time out of the office with my boss. Wow.

    So, has anybody been down to Braves spring training before? This will be my first trip. Any words of wisdom?

  46. wow, jay! i’m in the exact same boat except my wife is taking me next weekend. she hit me up 2 days before valentine’s day. we are staying in winter park with my wife’s rich aunt and uncle. have fun! i know i will.

  47. @71 – Yeah, I guess you are right. Parr is probably still a part of the real world. But, he is very close to La-la Land, having made about $100K over a month and a half last year as a 23 year old playing a game.

  48. Gadfly, which Jose Capellan? You know there are two.

    Somebody tell my wife about this great Spring Training gift idea. I love it down there and the Braves’ facility is top notch. Not to mention, I am a big fan of Disney.

    I will be down in Florida next week and am going to see the Rays at their new place, but I won’t get a chance to see the Braves.

  49. Francoeur singled and stuck out(!) today in 3 ABs.

    Jordan Schafer is hitting .385/.407/.654 while Shanderson is hitting .219/.219/.375

  50. Have fun with your vacations guys. I’ll be at that Friday game against the Marlins. Should be fun. Of course, guys, if you can’t possibly get enough baseball, my college team will be playing all week at a tournament at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater (Phillies’ old Spring Training complex). There’s some good baseball!

  51. Anderson basically had the job coming into spring training, he’s probably already lost it

  52. Parish,

    I don’t want to say the officals cost the Vols the game, but they were terrible. Tennessee probably still should have won, but this was terrible.

  53. Do any sites have lft right splits in spring training stats?

    Schafer has never hit lefties really well. Particularly not last year or in Mexican League in the fall. He has always put up good composite numbers for a centerfielder based on premier numbers against right handers with average or less against left handers. He is young enough and talented enough to get better at that.

    Janderson will never hit lefthanders well except to the extent he can bunt his way on. But I really believe 60 days in AAA will give Shcafer a chance to put it together without starting his clock and without compromising the team’s situation.

    And Schafer has always walked pretty well in minors. That is not a problem. If he can slug 600 plus, he needs to swing the bat.

  54. I am encouraged by the Wren talk of adding a bat and moving pitchers. However, I don’t quite see where the bat will fit right now. Possibly a Dallas McPherson or a Viciedo (or, you guys come up with a name) to be the long term plan for Chipper and a current back up. Possibly a real centerfielder like Ankiel or an almost centerfielder like Swisher.

    Otherwise, they don’t move Ganderson and heaven forbid putting Francoeur to any stress by having anyone compete with him or displace him. Certainly can’t get a better hitting shortstop or 2b. MAYBE an upgrade at first by moving Kotchman to somebody with the package for a better first baseman.

  55. I think Frenchy has played well of late. I have decided to give him a chance to show what he has got. I say let’s see how he is doing by June 1 and then see if we should rip him.

  56. I am encouraged by the Wren talk of adding a bat and moving pitchers.

    Me too, I guess, but the ship has sailed on the best and lowest cost options(in terms of player salary and talent).

    It’s a little late, Frank.

  57. If the Braves have such a surplus of candidates to fill out the rotation then why the he!! did Wren sign Glavine? I don’t really object to the signing if it is viewed as a way to get some more seasoning in the minors for Hanson, Morton, etc., but why sign Glavine if it means trading one of the young (and, in all likelihood, better) starters?

    Here’s hoping G. Anderson is stashed on the DL and Brandon Jones gets a shot to platoon with Diaz.

  58. There were bad calls both ways in the SEC game. Bost was called for stepping out of bounds when he was clearly fouled, and Chism uprooted Varnado and rode him 10 feet out of bounds, but the foul was called on Varnado. Also, they never did fully account for the time not run off the clock IMO, which favored UT because they were behind.

  59. I say Tennessee is a 7 (6 at best) LSU a 7 and Miss St. a 10.

    I got UNC, Louisville, Pitt, and Memphis as one seeds. Mich St., UCONN, Oklahoma, and Duke as the two’s.

  60. @76: I never did know there was a left-handed version of Jose Capellan, but the one that pitched for the Astros today was the RHP formally of the Atlanta organization… the guy we dealt in that terribly ill-fated Dan Kolb trade debacle.

    @82: I haven’t found any decent Grapefruit League stats, except for the basic ones on the main MLB site, which I don’t think includes splits. I haven’t looked all that much though, and would love to hear if anyone has found a better source for these mostly irrelevant stats.

    @85: The ship may have sailed on the best options, though you can’t be too certain. However, there are going to be some low cost options over the next weeks as clubs trim their rosters down. I’m interested to see what Frank has up his sleeve… just remember the Vazquez deal: no one saw it coming. If we do make a move, other than some minor shuffling, I’d expect it to be something no one has talked about up to this point.

  61. I don’t want to get people’s hopes up, but if Wren makes a deal, he says he’s trying to get more power. I suppose there are other options, but I don’t think there are many power options in center and I don’t think anyone would want Ganderson in a trade. It seems to me that Francouer would be the most likely choice – if they’ve given up on his power. If it’s not Francouer, the only other option I see is Kotchman.

  62. Can Willingham play right field? Given he was drafted at short, I’d imagine so. John Perrotto at BP says the Nats are looking to trade him.

    I thought we’d pass on Ganderson to wait for the roster trimming before adding a big bat. Obviously we plan to do both, which could render the Ganderson signing pointless.

  63. schafer is playing his way onto the starting roster. after my stockman prediction, schafer is my only hope to save face. let’s hope, for the sake of the braves, that josh anderson is traded soon.

  64. bowman adds that many have inquired about free agent buddy carlyle. what could buddy carlyle possibly get in return? he would most definitely need to be packaged with something else to get anything of value.

  65. I’m trying to come up with ideas about who might even be available… The only positions I can imagine are less than set-in-stone are First and Center. We can’t trade Garret being that we signed him as a FA, I think there’s a rule about that.

    So if we were trading for a 1b, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a team with depth, as Kotch would probably go the other way. That makes it hard to handicap.

    But who’s got redundancy in the OF?

  66. The only logical non-pitching trade piece is Francouer. He’s probably over-valued while Diaz is probably undervalued.

    And Freddy’s gonna be really good, but is he ready? Would the Angels want Kotch back?

    Hey, Stu – maybe we’ll meet in the NIT. Oy.

  67. I feel Frenchy’s value must be low, but what do I know? You’d have to say the same about Kotch, after how he hit after coming over.

  68. What’s wrong with Chipper?

    Was scheduled to start tonight and now has left the team?

  69. Aggravated the oblique that he strained last week. Went back to Orlando to get it looked at.

  70. If the Braves do make a trade, I doubt it’ll be one that impacts the ML roster. The only place I could see us adding someone is at CF, getting a right-handed bat who can field the position to platoon with Josh Anderson or Blanco. Or maybe a RH bat for LF is we don’t think Diaz can hack it.

    But more likely, we get some mid-level prospects and/or organizational filler.

  71. hank,
    I don’t think VU will be in the NIT. Rightfully or not, there are at least four SEC teams which would get bids before we would, and I can’t imagine the NIT inviting 5+ teams from one conference.

  72. Stu,

    I agree, I don’t think Vandy gets in.

    I thought Tennessee got a bad seed, but maybe it will motivate them.

    How in the hell did Arizona get in?

  73. Whoever made the list of observations on Spring Training above, I appreciate the comments. Some were insightful and others seemed more obvious and hard to debate.

    The comment that Schafer would never be that good offensively has me scratching my head, though. I am surprised that the guy looks more ready (by my casual observation) than I thought he would. To me, he looks to me like a guy that will hit enough to play a corner outfield position and defend well enough to be above average as a center fielder. I still think he benefits from 2-3 months every day at AAA.

    Keep in mind that Schafer was primarily a pitcher until a few years ago. He should continue to improve in the field and at the plate.

    I still believe the future Braves outfield should have Gorkys in center and Heyward and Schafer in the corners.

  74. I’m pretty disappointed about UF. A win over Auburn might have gotten them in, but even then, I’d have been skeptical. They really faded down the stretch, and by the SEC tournament, Calethas was practically non-existent, at least on the scoring side of things. The one bright spot is Alex Tyus, who is coming into his own as a Freshman. Hopefully they can get him some help down low next year.

  75. Tyus is at least a sophomore. I’ve watched him in Nashville for the past 2 seasons.

    But, yeah, he’s got a crazy-high ceiling.

  76. There must be an epidemic of wives sending husbands to spring training. I will be down there for the Marlin and Met games.

  77. Guys I can see being traded: Buddy Carlyle, James Parr, Martin Prado, Blaine Boyer and Jorge Campillo.

    No way it’s a big trade for Swisher or Ludwick.

  78. I wouldn’t mind us trading some of our pitching surplus for some B-prospect middle infielders around the hi-A level.

    It seems like we could do better than organzational filler.

  79. I hope all you “wives give Spring Break” guys know that they call Stu “the Fireman” …

  80. I basically agree with Dan(although I doubt we trade Campillo).

    Also, Stu, you’re absolutely right re: Tyus. Dunno why I thought he was a freshman.

  81. Nah. It was basically meaningless, but still amusing. He looked ready to go. Much thinner.

  82. Chipper’s coming back to Orlando after re-injuring the oblique. My love for the WBC knows no bounds.

  83. I hate to see Stockman cut–though given his history with the injury it may make sense….That said, I would rather have cut Ridgway…

  84. Stockman can’t even stand on the mount…I am not surprised by the cut, but I feel sorry for the guy…

  85. I suppose there is nothing more to do than wish Stockman well with the Royals….

  86. So Cole Hamels is taking a flight to get his sore elbow checked out. The Phils could really be hurting for pitching if he goes down. The Mets cant be liking their rotation either. Santana is okay but hurting and Maine and Perez are getting beat up on pretty good

  87. We all KNEW there was a good chance of Chipper having extensive DL time. That’s why the complete lack of attention by Wren adding any kind of offense really stings.

    If he is not playing regularly, you cannot win a division where the only reliable middle-of-the-order hitter is McCann. Francouer, Crotchman, Ganderson, KJ…sorry, that’s not going to cut it.

    We better hope our starters and relievers are lights out and we win lots of 2-1 games.

  88. March Madness:

    Mac, I assume your ESPN deal is a free?

    If anyone is interested in some (for money) competitive bracket madness groups, I have a few at CBS Sportsline I’m happy to invite people to?

  89. #132

    Gee…what a fantastic contigency plan that is.

    And in a horrible irony, Jeff Francouer will be “just fine and dandy”.

  90. #118

    Adam, I agree with you 100%. Except I’m willing to remove the sarcasm and once again, as in 2006, reiterate my complete loathing and hatred of the stupid, meaningless, made up WBC.

  91. I didn’t like the WBC either, but I’m starting to change my mind. It’s pretty clear that the players enjoy playing for their countries and, even though I have some misgivings about more national competitions, this seems ok. It was neat to see the Nethelands beat the DR. The quality of play is generally better than exhibition games (and, by the way, they charge a pretty penny for exhibition games now I was surprised to learn). There is obviously a danger of injury, especially for pitchers, but players used to barnstorm during the offseason (granted, after the season). Chipper would likely have gotten hurt playing exhibition games, anyway. Maybe it’s good for ball players to play for something besides big contracts.

  92. I hate that Chipper got hurt, though I think he’d likely have gotten hurt either way, but I like the WBC (for a lot of the reasons Marc gave).

    I think it would be MORE interesting to do it instead of the All-Star game though… make it a 5-6 day break instead of just 3 and play it in July (obviously a modified format). OR make it restricted to no MLB players (only minors and other leagues) and make it a showcase of up and coming talent. I like the national pride thing, and think without baseball in the olympics it’s nice to have a real international baseball competition.

  93. I second you Marc on your point that Chipper could have easily gotten hurt during the exhibition games, too.

    This is Chipper we’re talking about. He could get hurt going to the bathroom or reading a magazine.

    However, my sense is he’d work his aging body up more deliberately in the spring building up to the start of the season. He probably went full bore immediately during the WBC and now he’s hurt.

    there’s no empirical evidence that what I’m saying is the case, but there’s a decent chance this is what happened.

    To me, this will always be some faux, made up event. And the only time of year it should be played is in December – when there’s very little going on since it’s not like the NCAA has yet adopted the needed college football Playoffs. Plus, we’re way out of Baseball season at that point.

  94. @130

    The issue with Chipper is that we don’t really have the resources to have type of back up necessary for the type of player (health wise) that he currently is.

    The problem is, that when healthy, Chipper is so good that any backup, by default, will be a huge drop off. If they weren’t, they’d be good enough to be a starter otherwise. (I’ve always thought the parallels between him and Smoltz in this were ironic)

    Really, the only semi-feasible solution that I saw was acquiring Mark Teahen. He is expendable and was brought up as a 3rd baseman. However, the issue that Mac (and probably others) pointed out was that Mark Teahen sucked last year. His OBP (.313) was approaching Frenchy bad.

    He is only 26 and is two years removed from a 120+ OPS season; however, these sound eerily similar to the assorted Frenchy defenses that I hear. In any case, the improvement over Infante/Prado would probably be marginal at best.

    I guess that overall point is that, as Alex R points out, a sizable portion of the offense this year will tied to Chipper’s health. Outside he and McCann, the difference in the offensive value of any starter’s backup isn’t enormous. Those two are irreplaceable though, and the problem has been that Chipper’s health has a history of forcing the issue.

  95. So, once again, it appears that our 2 best hitters will get the fewest ABs of any regulars over the course of the season.

    Can we at least avoid our very worst players getting the most ABs? Or do we have to wait for Bobby Cox to retire?

  96. There are a lot of problems with the current format, but I absolutely believe that the WBC is a good idea. Baseball is enough of an international sport where there absolutely needs to be a World Cup of some sort.

    Now, it should be played in November and it should be moved around to countries other than just the U.S. (I know they did that in the preliminary groups this time, but I mean more extensively). If it continues to be played in March for whatever silly reason, the countries absolutely must start to have extended training camps starting in late January at the latest to avoid all of this pitch count and pitchers not being able to go three innings without breaking down and hitters pulling muscles nonsense. And the semifinals and finals need to be changed to best-of-three series or, alternatively, you can do the preliminary double-elimination group stage and then the eight teams that advance out of that can go to a College World Series-style double-elimination event. But baseball should not have one-off games, pretty much ever. Also, some normalization of the rules for which countries a player can play for might be nice. For instance, something to keep A-Rod from playing for the U.S. during one event and then for the Dominican in the next one, or from Marco Scutaro playing for Italy in one and then for whoever it was I saw him playing for the other day in the next (I think it was either Venezuela or Panama).

    But with these rules changes and a couple more that I’m sure I’m not thinking of right now, this could be a really great event. It’s not like no one’s interested in it. The U.S.-Canada game last week was almost a sellout in Toronto in March. I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay. The focus should be on improving it.

  97. As Ethan points out, we’re not going to have a backup that’s as good as Chipper, or even nearly as good until we have his replacement come up from the minors. Part of the problem is that we only have two “legit” power hitters. If we had somebody in a corner outfield or first base spot that had power it would be one thing, but if you’re down to “McCann” as your only guy who comes up and has a reasonable chance of hitting one out you’re going to have problems. Compare with the Mets, if David Wright or Delgado go down they’ve still got Beltran. Phils would have a similar problem if Howard went down but still have threats with Utley and Rollins (even if neither of them are on Howard’s level of HR threat). I guess the “bright” side is that even without the HR threat we SHOULD (theoretically anyway) have enough guys who can run and maybe get on base enough to be able to scrape together runs while Chipper is out… but I wouldn’t want to count on it.

    Can Kotchman cover anywhere else so we could bring up Freeman for some power if Chipper went down for a period of time and we couldn’t find anything else? Grasping at straws I know.

  98. Is it time to take to the kid gloves off and get Jason Heyward and Schaefer into the everyday lineup? I think so.

    With the Chipper injury and the likelihood that he’ll again miss “chunks of games” throughout, can we afford Josh Anderson/Jeff Francouer garbage? No. I’d rather roll the dice with our rookie studs.

    I mean, we just spent a bunch of money on Lowe and Kawakami and have a veteran bullpen we hope holds up healthy. What’s the point of actually rounding out a pretty darn good pitching staff if we have ZERO OFFENSE to back that up?

    I’d love to trade for a big bat or two, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

    The laternative is to watch mediocre garbage like Janderson and Frenchy “flail” for a few months, fall 9-10 games back of Philly and/or the Mets (even Florida) and then in June decide it’s time to give Schaefer and Heyward a shot.

    Screw that. The Chipper injury should be a wake up call that this team simply doesn’t have the everyday offensive firepower to compete, so we might as well let the kids out to play already. Enough of these mediocre veterans. Didn’t the 2008 rays teach us anything?

  99. Folks, Freeman and Heyward played A ball last year–mostly low-A at that (awfully good to see them here in Rome most of the year). They are not options for this year. It’s good that they’re having ok springs, but best case/most optimistic scenario is September call ups. 2010 or even 2011 seems more likely.

  100. #146

    Easily the most depressing Bravesjournal post of the week.

    Is that some sort of trade off for the Astros taking Mike Hampton off our hands?

  101. I’d currently be more excited rolling the dice on Freeman, Heyward and Schaefer, then rolling Francouer and Janderson out there to suck as we all know they will.

  102. It probably had more to do with Houston’s starting catcher being JR Towles and our starting catcher being Brian McCann.

    Alex, you don’t really think that, do you? Maybe on Schafer, but Heyward and Freeman were A ball players last year.

  103. AP reporting that the Braves have optioned pitchers Steve Marek, James Parr, Todd Redmond, Luis Valdez, Francisley Bueno, and Mariano Gomez and catchers Phillip Britton and Matt Kennelly. No surprises, but suggests to me that Parr isn’t currently part of any trade talks.

  104. #145, agree completely. There is no point playing Heyward and Freeman before they are ready. We won’t get the production out of them we will in a year or so and we’ll start their arbitration clocks.

    Can’t see why there should be any kneejerk reaction to Chipper going down. It’s hardly a shock turn of events and I’d hope that the front office knew they’d have periods when he’s out of the lineup.

  105. @146 – I think that shows the Braves didn’t overpay for Ross – he had a better season than Pudge did last year.

  106. 2008 numbers

    115 games – 20 2b, 7 hr, 23 BB, 67 K, .319 OBP, .394 SLG = .714 OPS

    60 games – 9 2b, 3hr, 32 BB, 39 K, .369 OBP, .352 SLG = .721 OPS

    Now tell me how based on what is shown above how you can complain about the Ross signing over the Pudge signing. Now if you want to complain about both, that is fine – but you can’t say that teh Pudge signing was good and the Ross signing was bad. Those numbers are nearly identical – and Ross isn’t 38! They are signed for the same dollar amount this year, so I don’t get the reactions.

  107. Look, he may suck now, but Andruw didn’t play above A Ball when we called him up in 96. So, I don’t necessarily buy the argument that you have to troll through Gwinnett before you deserve a shot in Atlanta.

    (still weird to me not saying Richmond…)

    There’s the argument “the devil you know” favoring going with the more “experienced” Franceour and Janderson.

    But what if the devils you know just plain suck? The upside is far better on our kids. We KNOW what we’re going to get from Francouer and Janderson – two guys INCAPABLE of getting on base.

    Look, this is reality and I get these guys will be starting…but I don’t have to like it.

    I am even more depressed that our contigency plans for Chipper is Martin Prado.

  108. @155

    Too soon with me for Freeman/Heyward, but I’d be fine with Schafer if they pulled the trigger. Could probably wait and let him learn at AAA (especially lefties), but if JS/Wren/Bobby think he’s the best option to help the MLB club win…well, I’ll trust their judgment.

  109. There were times when I complained about the Ross signing, but I’m coming around to it. After all, he is the pride of Bainbridge, GA.

  110. DOB on Tommy pitching a simulated game:

    “don’t want to say Glavine’s fastball is unimpressive, but… Well, the curveball looks good”

    Feel the excitement!

  111. Christ, if that’s the best the company flack has to say, it’s over.

  112. Alex R – Numerous posts have been made on this blog to indicate how much more expensive it is for a team over the long haul to call up players just 2 months earlier. Take it to heart. It’s a bad idea, a worse idea if we are far from contending.

    Also, Andruw Jones played in Hi-A, AA, and AAA before he was called up to Atlanta in 1996. His first game for the big club was on August 15.

    When people say he went from A-ball to the Majors, it was over one year, not in one day.

  113. At this point, we are talking about building statues of Kiffin up here with the kids he is getting to come here.

  114. Yeah, with the caliber of kids being brought to Knoxville and the quality of the human beings on the coaching staff already there, I really see no way this can end badly for UT and its fans.

  115. 1. As Parish points out, Andruw Jones played at every level of the heirarchy before being called up in August of 1996 (where he platooned in RF.)

    2. Chipper Jones’ primary backup is Omar Infante, as of right now. Not Martin Prado. Having a couple of real options in LF means Infante and Greg Norton are no longer out of position in the OF and backing up the infield like G*d intended.

    3. You do NOT call up Schafer until he plays some good/great baseball in Gwinnett. First because it’s good for him to play AAA, second because there’s no point in starting his arb clock early, and finally because the Braves should be smart enough to know they’re rebuilding for 2010, not 2009. (Fans may not realize this.)

  116. Reading the report on Glavine today, much has been made about the fact that he just has to get ready for April 18th when he is first scheduled to pitch.

    If he is really not going to pitch until then, he should start the season on the DL. It would be best for the team, but not best for Glavine. Based on what I recall about his contract, starting the season on the DL will cost him $1M.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with that.

  117. EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!1!!111!

    Seriously. Heyward is 19.

    You want to start paying Heyward $5-$8 million for his age 23-25 seasons, or his 25-27 year old seasons?

    And what does it matter, we’re obviously going to lose 115 games because CHIPPER’S HURT AND THERE’S ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL WE PLAY A GAME THAT COUNTS!!!!

  118. I’m not even seriously against the Ross deal. I realize that Ivan’s pretty much done — he’s an old catcher who’s played a ton of games and has already been caught juicing.

    Still, how many of you honestly thought that Dave Ross would get twice as much money as Pudge Rodriguez this offseason?

  119. Re: WBC-if there is any good to it:
    So good to Javier Vasquez pitching well. Found a new respect for Jimmy Rollins. Dude is a ballplayer. And I wouldn’t trade BMac for Pujols straight up right now.

    Just saw “Watchmen” movie. Visually stunning and thought-provoking. It’s sort of a weird anachronism. Many of its ideas were immensely more relevant when the graphic novel came out nearly 20 years ago, but there’s no way anyone could’ve made the movie to serve it without today’s technolgy.
    I think we’ll be talking about it ten years from now.

  120. Saying Ross is getting twice as much money is bending the facts a little. Their salaries are the same, Ross is signed for two years. It’s a little more accurate to say he received twice the commitment.

  121. Alex R. at 155.

    The season BEFORE Andruw’s late season call up he was in Maocn in A ball and tore up the league.

    He started the next year either at Durham or Greenville (my, how our minor league cities have changed) and at least played at Greenville (AA) for more than half the season. I think he also spent 3 weeks in Richmond.

    He did nto enter the major league roster with no time above A ball.

    Furcal is the only one to skip AA and AAA and stick at ML level (Furcal came from high A Myrtle Beach [after Durham left us]).

  122. Glavine struck out two in the intersquad game.

    Whoever they are, they should be cut immediately.

  123. KK (appropriate initials) was one of the strikeout victims. I think he K’s about once every 3 ABs.

  124. @167 – You are looking at that scenario a little differently than you perhaps should. They are signed to the exact same dollar amount this year. The fact is that Ross got an extra year on his commitment, which should by no means alarm anyone (he is 6 years younger than Pudge).

  125. “3. You do NOT call up Schafer until he plays some good/great baseball in Gwinnett. First because it’s good for him to play AAA, second because there’s no point in starting his arb clock early, and finally because the Braves should be smart enough to know they’re rebuilding for 2010, not 2009. (Fans may not realize this.)”

    is that why we spent over 40 million dollars this offseason? to be in “rebuilding” mode? neither the braves fans or front office received that memo. arb clock aside, personally, i dont want josh anderson anywhere near an outfield that already has 2 pieces that cant take a walk. schafer is having a great spring and should be looked at. if he has a good beginning in the minors, his arb clock will start anyway because he will be called up sooner rather than later. a francoeur, ganderson, and janderson lineup might have a combined obp less than brian mccan’s batting average.

  126. It’s not just the arb clock thing, IMO—it’s about allowing the young guys to build more and more confidence, via more and more experience, in the non-pressure-packed settings of the minor leagues. Even if it’s only for a couple of months—I doubt the difference between Schafer and Anderson even amounts to 1 win over that short a period.

  127. @169

    The only player I wouldn’t trade straight up for Pujols is hanley ramirez. Pujols is miles better than b-mac.
    Not to say b-mac is bad, he’s just not as good as Pujols

  128. ryan c. at 176,

    Actually, I am much in the “hold Schafer down” crowd. I don’t believe the spending of money means we aren’t rebuilding. The only money we spent that hinders rebuilding or doesn’t help toward it is the money for Ganderson (maybe) and the money for Glavine. We have KK for 3 years, Vazquez for 2 and Lowe for 3.

    However, I agree with your contention that the front office isn’t going to say the “r” word because of (1) Tickets and ratings and (2) because they are going to give Bobby Cox (and to a lesser extent, Chipper) a shot. And, I don’t think they are that conscious of the future as to really only see these moves as rebuilding.

    But 2 above gives you the answer to what happens with Schafer. The FO types are going to prefer to send him down and use Janderson. Then, if by June 10 Janderson doesn’t get it done and Schafer is hitting lefties fairly well and still showing good form, you will see Schafer in ATL. But, the wild card is old man Cox. if he really wants Schafer and thinks Schafer is ready, then Schafer will be your starting centrfielder.

    The other option is to trade for Ankiel. If you look, Cardinals already have Ludwick, Duncan, Rasmus, and Schumaker (that needs to be back in OF). Prado and a low – mid pitcher for Ankiel and Barton (I think that is the outfielder’s spelling). With that, we release Janderson and let the good times roll.

  129. #178,

    Hanley is the only player I would even consider not trading for Pujols straight up. Pujols is an inner-circle Hall of Famer at the peak of his powers; one of the two or three best right-handed hitters of all time, if not the single best, and the best defensive 1B in the game by a lot, if /any/ of the defensive metrics are to be believed.

    McCann is awesome; the best catcher in the game. If we are very lucky and he has a long career, he has a real chance at the Hall of Fame, though just like every other young guy, it’s a long shot. If Pujols gets hit by a bus this afternoon, they give him a Clemente exception and he’s in the Hall next year.

  130. Rojones and Nojones are Chipper Jones and Brandon Jones (well, actually, they’re the pronunciations we agreed on for “Rjones” and “Njones”), and I’m pretty eager to start using them immediately.

    I know that Ross and Ivan’s contracts have the same per-year value, but the fact remains that the Braves gave Ross twice as much guaranteed dough as the Astros gave Ivan. First of all, of course, a 1-year, $1.5 million contract is striking because the guy is probably a Hall of Famer, and before the Mitchell Report he was a first-ballot no doubter. Second of all, because Ross has basically never been a starting player, and backup catchers rarely get multiyear deals. Maybe they should and this is a smart new paradigm. Third of all, because, you know, look at them: Ivan Rodriguez and Dave Ross. It’s kind of a hilarious comparison.

    Right now, Ross is probably the better player, and the Braves probably spent their money wisely. But that doesn’t mean that, on the face of it, it isn’t a little absurd that a team was willing to give Dave Ross twice as many guaranteed dollars — over twice as many guaranteed years, natch — as a team was willing to give I-Rod.

  131. I agree with everyone that Schafer isn’t quite ready to be our CF. It just appears that he’s already our best option.

    But I think we might as well give the job to Shanderson for April and May and see if he can at least keep the spot warm. That would give Schafer some time in Gwinnett to correct flaws.

  132. Glavine struck out two in the intersquad game.

    Insert Francoeur joke here.

    [Yes, I know, he’s hardly struck out this spring. That’s not enough to silence this critic.]

  133. FWIW, Pudge was offered more money by other clubs but only the Astros were willing to give him a starting job.

  134. If I had Hanley Ramirez on my team, he’d be playing another position.

    Nice Posnanski story on Pujols in the new SI, BTW.

  135. ububba: I actually hear he was an adequate defensive SS this year; not a great one, but good enough defense to justify using him at short instead of center or second or wherever.

  136. Nathan,
    I tend to believe my own eyes with these things. IMO, he’s a bad defensive shortstop on a bad defensive infield.

    To me, shortstop is the one position where I don’t wanna see defensive suckitude. I can make excuses for the other positions, not SS.

    I like shortstops who are adept in the field—range, arm, turn the DP. If a guy can do these things and he’s not a raging offensive liability, he can play for me.

    Yes, gun to my head, I’ll take a Rafael Ramirez over a Ray Oyler—admittedly, an extreme example—but it’s not a decision I wanna hafta make. I like my current shortstop just fine.

    And now, I have to do something I really don’t wanna do tonight: See Motley Crue at MSG. At least the people-watching should be fun…

  137. Yeah, ububba, that I totally understand. It’s just so nice to have a really elite defensive SS; that is probably the thing I miss the most about Furcal. Amazing range, cannon arm, and that last year he stopped making errors. Escobar seems to be smoother, with not quite as extreme range, but really, really good. Much better than he was supposed to be.

  138. I must have been walking the dogs when they brought that up. Pretty snazzy, really.

    Sure enjoying the game tonight. The crowd has been great.

  139. Nah, it’s marketing. Shoot, I always liked his name because of the fishing angle. That’s ironic, right?

  140. With Pearl’s and Orgeron’s penchant for disrobing in public, they’re changing the fight song from “Rocky Top” to “Hot in Here” …

  141. I also don’t think the Braves FO got the memo on the ‘rebuild’ idea–mainly because I don’t trust Frank Wren to do anything sensible, and because most of our signees are like 57 years old–but I like the way Stu reasons and will go with it until Wren forces me to realize the horrifying reality of our current plan. When that happens, so be it. Until then, nice rebuilding job Braves!

  142. Actually, I do think Wren knows we are more likely to compete in 2010 and beyond. That would explain why he protected our prospects, trading only Tyler Flowers, a guy he probably did not see fitting into Atlanta’s future. The pitchers we got are signed for multiple years allowing the young talent in the Braves’ system a little time to mature. And he kept the contract for our lf short, giving us payroll flexibility in 2010 and leaving the door open for our best position prospect.

    Wren knows it’s 2010, but he did a good job of putting a competitive product on the field this year. We should be in the mix late in the season and if things break right, we might just make the playoffs.

  143. is that why we spent over 40 million dollars this offseason? to be in “rebuilding” mode?

    Yes, actually. That is *exactly* why we spent $40 million this offseason. You see, a team with as many gaping holes as the 2009 Braves does not get rebuilt overnight. It does not get rebuilt over the course of one free agent season. A team with the depth and breadth of problems as the 2009 Braves need at least two, if not 3-5 years, to properly rebuild. The fact that the Braves have consistently identified young talent in the draft and have a pipeline of prospects already available puts them on the top end of that scale, but they are still a year away.

    Frank Wren knows this and, contrary to the whinging cries of children on the internet, has acted rationally toward his goals. He has rebuilt the major league rotation from tatters, almost exclusively by spending money (the easiest asset to replace) and hording his prospects (much, much more difficult to replace.) When he had to deal prospects he properly identified the pieces that were too valuable to part with (Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward) and separated them from the pieces that were superfluous to the organization (Tyler Flowers, blocked at the ML level by a better catcher already.)

    In a single offseason Wren has converted all of the resources that was tied up in ageing stars of former years into player-contracts that can compete in 2009-2012. He’s brought in stop-gaps to fill the outfield as best he can, accepted one more make-or-break year from Francoeur and properly positioned his OF prospects to impact late this year or early 2010. He will go into next winter with a functional rotation, a functional bullpen, one or two starting pitchers to trade if needed (Hanson pushes one of the starting four, Hudson returns and pushes another, leaving you the really nice situation of having one of Vasquez/Hudson/Kawakami to use as trade bait) and three holes to fill (3B unless Chipper extends, LF and RF and potentially 1B.) He’ll have Schafer in CF, Diaz/Francoeur/Heyward as internal options, and Jason Bay or Matt Holliday on the free agent market. That’s without trading one of the starters for an OF bat.

    In short, the fact that you don’t see the big picture doesn’t mean Frank Wren fails similarly. By every rational measure Wren has a solid plan and is working that plan well. People not irrationally upset over signing a backup catcher and a stop-gap flyer on Tom Glavine could see that.

  144. @191,

    The idea that an FBI field agent could grant someone immunity from prosecution for a felony is about as ludicrous as it gets. It would take, at the very least, the Attorney General. I realize “24” is a TV show but they take so many ridiculous liberties with reality in order to advance the plot.

  145. I think I may have been the one who started it (dang this is a long thread), but I wasn’t actually advocating bringing up Freeman, just asking if Kotchman could play somewhere else on the field IF Chipper was going to be out for a significant amount of time (I was thinking of later in the season, but didn’t clarify that). Sorry for starting all that.

  146. ububba, haven’t thought of Ray Oyler since I had a baseball card of him back in 1969. I just went and looked at his stats. The man must have had a great glove to get that many at bats with the way he hit (or didn’t hit) the ball!

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