Giants 6, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants – Box Score – May 27, 2009 – ESPN

Getting June out of the way early, I see. The Braves were outhit 15-6, and the remarkable thing is that they were still in it in the seventh inning. Kawakami did not follow up his good start well, leaving with two out in the sixth and three runs allowed; a fourth run scored after he left, because Bobby still doesn’t understand that Moylan shouldn’t pitch with runners on. If anything, Kawakami pitched worse than the four runs indicate; he allowed nine hits and four walks, and struck out two. To be fair, the Braves had a patchwork infield behind him, Hernandez at short and Prado at second, and Prado in particular played remarkably badly, including screwing up on a double steal in the third when he had the runner at the plate but threw the ball about five feet up the first base line.

The Braves trailed 4-1 after six, but the Giants had hit for Randy Johnson (who had thrown only 79 pitches) and the Braves got back into it with two runs in the seventh, both driven in by Garret Anderson, Pinch-hitter Extraordinaire. But they couldn’t get one more hit to tie it, and then O’Flaherty gave up two runs in the bottom of the inning (Acosta had to bail him out) and that was that. The Braves had just one hit in the last two innings, a double by McCann.

Chipper struck out four times and was obviously in pain. Yunel is still out. This is not at all a good thing.

85 thoughts on “Giants 6, Braves 3”

  1. Below is what I posted right after the Braves swept the Blue Jays. Welcome back 2008 Braves! )-:

    “IMO this week’s series with the Giants is crucial. It’s important for us to show that we are not like last year’s team. Last year we would have a good series and look headed in the right direction, then we’d turn around and get swept by the Nationals or some other low level team. …”

  2. To be fair, we didn’t have our best two pitchers going in this series. They had last year’s Cy Young and a 300-game winner.

    To be realistic, this team is one Josh Willingham and one 2002 Andruw from being an average offensive club.

  3. weldon said it perfectly; the pitching match-ups didn’t set up well for us, and we are simply dreadful offensively, especially without 1 of our 4 decent hitters (Yunel), and another Chipper (not 100%).

    You simply cannot be a winning team at the MLB level with no hitters in the OF that you put on your line-up card. (Actually, 1 bright spot is Diaz’ strike-zone judgment this year-he really is a decent offensive player, just not enough AB’s).

  4. @2

    Maybe, but until they show up, we shouldn’t be surprised at these types of results.

  5. TD–Thanks for the reminder–I think that it will take a lot for the Braves to become more than a .500 team.

    Mac–you may hav already gone to bed, but Prado (who I like to praise) lost track of the outs and turned a double play with 2 outs….

    A great effort by the Braves….

  6. The loss to Lincecum was a given. Randy Johnson came into the game with an ERA close to 6 and Jonathan Sanchez isn’t exactly an ace. Being outscored 18 to 5 by the Giants is inexcusable.

  7. “Being outscored 18 to 5 by the Giants is inexcusable.”

    The 18 given up is not so good; the 5 is basically us. Our outfielders are on pace to hit 25 HR’s in total, this season. That is a decent total for 1 guy in a season, and it represents the totals so far for Anderson; Schaeffer; Diaz; and Frenchie. And it isn’t as if any of those guys make up for a lack of power with some other run-producing skill (high average; high OB; lots of doubles or SB’s). if we stay with this OF for 2009, I think we will hit some historic MLB lows for production.

    It is not interesting any more to name names or call-out how we got here, but this cannot stay the way it is; we really have to try something (someone) else.

  8. not only is this team not able to hit, but they just make terrible plays and decisions on the field.

    Some people thought it was Diory that made the terrible throw to Ross, but it was Prado. Prado instead of taking the easy out at 2nd, made a throw to 1st and the runner got into scoring position becuase of it. Oh yeah, I guess becuase of all of his prado’s over the years, he forgets how many outs we have. Now its 4 per inning. Kawakami had a wild pitch that allowed a run to cross. Schafer and Francouer K every time the bases are loaded. Im just sick of our OF’rs not working the count, Schafer does on occassion but when he’s got RISP he turns into Stenchy. We need smart baseball people and we dont even have that. Look at it this way, we are bad but the Jays have lost 9 in a row and they have a great offense and Roy Halladay. now Im just searching. How are we still at .500

  9. We should have won Monday. Should have lost Tuesday. Toss up on today based on whether they got “Good Randy” and whether we got “Good Shinbone”. If both good versions showed up, it was a toss up. If neither good version showed up it was a tossup. When Good Johnson goes against Not Good Kawakami, it plays to them.

  10. “Olney heard that “Atlanta hasn’t gotten fully engaged yet” in their attempt to augment their outfield.”

    Memo to front office: get fully engaged.

    WTF does that mean, any way? I get this feeling they are hoping that a light-bulb goes off in the head of Frenchie and he remembers how to hit; that Scahaeffer goes quicker on his learning curve; and Anderson gets jazzed up and starts to care. At what point do they realize that that isn’t going to happen in 2009?

  11. The Prado thing is what it is. Against a lefthanded pitcher the platoon split may be worth him playing wnd, but he is a lesser defensive player than the already somewhat challenged KJ. Nevertheless, the use of the 2 of them is not fundamentally unsound.

    Diory is a half decent utility guy who really doesn’t need to be at shortstop. until either Esco or Infante get back, we will have some problems there.

    Chipper is going to get nagging injuries and they are going to affect his production. We don’t have anybody else and can’t get anybody else to replace him during those periods.

    McCann is a catcher and will die if he doesn’t get about every 5th game off.

    THEREFORE, we can’t afford a mediocre outfield and doggone sure can’t afford this mess.

  12. I know we talk about how good our farm is sometimes, but it seems like everytime we talk about a person missing time we dont have any kind of decent player to replace them. Diory Hernandez and Brandon Jones are the only position prospects that could possibly help our team? Thats a serious problem in our farm.

  13. On “go for it” versus “play for the future”,

    For (in order of priority as a Braves fan) (1) the protection of the revenue stream, (2) a fair chance to the older players / new free agents, (3) Wren, and (4) Bobby, we need to take a shot.

    However, that shot cannot be structured in a way that compromises the future.

    So, we can move “blocked prospects”. The only people that fit that are pitchers. We have so few position prospects that have a chance at ML average that we can’t trade even those for what we would be likely to get.

    We can trade salary for salary at ML level, but there aren’t many of those out there. The only people this makes sense on are Francoeur (and we will not get “salary for salary” unless we accept a severely injured player or a has been), KJ (we might play Prado and swap him for a similarly salaried Ankiel or Ludwick or Nady or Swisher), Soriano (he is near his worth at his salary, Gonzo is below worth and we HAVE to keep at least 1 of them), and maybe Diaz (although, we are already down 2 outfielders and that makes it 3).

    If we make 1 move and it doesn’t get us over the hump (and it probably won’t), I can live with that as long as the above is met.

  14. Seeing how the Blue Jays got swept by the Orioles too, I think the Braves proved in this series: They are who we thought they were.

    And as others have pointed out, this was not Randy Johnson of old. The Braves should really be ashamed.

    To quote Don Sutton: “There are just too many outs in this line-up.”

  15. @14 “There are just too many outs in this line-up.”

    yeah, and the thing is, they are too often “quick” outs (1st or 2nd pitch outs). Pitchers love to see the Braves come to town — they swing early, at bad pitches, and give a lot of quick, easy innings.

  16. So when Manny went out the Dodgers were supposed to be sunk, right?

    Juan Pierre since May 7:

    19 G, .422/.495/.602, 19 R, 17 RBI from the leadoff spot.

  17. I was right when I said it seems like the Braves always play awful baseball in San Francisco.

    Since 2000, the Braves are 14-23 (.378) when they play the Giants in San Francisco. Over that same span, the Braves are 18-9 (.667) when they play the Giants in Atlanta.

  18. We have been a buyer of veterans, in return for young players for years, trying to get 1 more championship out of the Chipper/Smoltz core. The Teixera trade wiped out 2 of our better position player minor league prospects (Salty and Andrus), and 2 good young pitchers. We swapped a very good hitting catcher (Ramirez) for Bob Wickman. Whether we thought he would be good or not, we sent a young pitcher (Davies) to KC for 7 league average innings of a middle reliever. If you do this long enough, eventually you suck your minor league system dry. Shoot, where would we be without our 1 trade the other way (Renteria for Jurjens and Hernandez)?

    It is amazing to me that we basically have 1 person at AA and above that has prospects to be a decent MLB regular (Hernandez), and everyone else is at least 2 years away. (I am getting ready to give up on Hicks). Shoot; I am not sure we have any good hitters at Rome, having taken pitchers for what, the first 3 rounds of last year’s draft?

    I am not a Frank Wren fan (no secret there), and I think one problem is that he cannot decide what we are; are we a serious contender or rebuilding for 2011 and 2012?

    We deluded ourselves in past years, or had bad luck, and mortgaged the future for 85 win seasons. If we are a contender in 2009, then we need to get a very good hitting corner OF this year; if we are not, then we need to save Hernandez for us, to see if he can be a very good hitter at the MLB level, and we need to flip some MLB level starting pitching that we do have, for some minor league OF’s that have the potential to hit in the MLB. Wren’s one trade “the other way” (our veteran for their young talent) worked great; let’s see if he can replicate that.

  19. Josh Willingham is on the trade block. He’s nothing special, but he’s better than what we’ve got and he should be easily attainable.

  20. I suspect the front office doesn’t want to appear desperate and lose any leverage the Braves have. I’m sure Wren damn well knows the problems with this team and I doubt they are still under any illusions about Francouer, but the options out there are not all that great.

    As far as going for it now, I can’t imagine that they will simply stand pat–not unless they want to see 1980s-type crowds. If they stand pat now, how much better will they be next year? I fear they are going to rush Heyward, but it’s unlikely he would be up before 2011 so there isn’t much help coming from the minors. As for Hanson, he is still a minor league pitcher, no matter how much he has dominated the minors. I’m not going to annoint him a savior until he actually shows he can get big league hitters out. The point is, things probably won’t be much better next year if they don’t make a move now.

    On the other hand, I think the Braves need to avoid the chimera that the division is winnable because the Mets and Phillies are flawed. That may be true, but overall those teams are much more talented and have the resources to fill needs. Making a short-term move based on the notion that the division is weak and we can get hot in the playoffs is how the Teixera deal happened. The advantage the Braves have over the Mets is long-term because our farm system is, supposedly, much stronger than the Mets. (However, I am becoming skeptical that (1) this organization really knows how to develop young players, and (2) has any ability to evaluate major league talent.)

    I am convinced, however, that dumping Francouer would be a positive even with no ready replacement. This guy is clueless and annoying.

  21. Upon sufficient reflection, I gotta say that Martin Prado’s game last night was up there with anything the ’62 Mets pulled off.

    It’s pretty rare to see such a collection of egregious physical & mental mistakes from one player in one game—and 2 of the goofs cost us runs.

    Move over Marvelous Marv Throneberry & Choo Choo Coleman, y’all got company.

  22. Hey, if we fall out of the race, maybe we can trade Soriano and/or Gonzalez for some talented young outfielders. Who else (besides the worthless ACHE) has a contract up at the end of year?

  23. Are there any hitting stats for left on base, or left on base percentage? Frenchy is obviously whining because his position down in the order reduces his ability to pile up the RBI counting stat. But I suspect that Frenchy may be one of the big leaders in the LOB category. A few nights ago he left a whopping 7 men on base. I suspect few such terrible batters have ever been allowed to hit so many times with men on base as Frenchy, so if someone can find the stat and provide a comparison, I think it would be illuminating. This stat should also be provided to the AJC if possible, especially if it shows his record in futility. Rafael Belliard was a slightly worse hitter than Frenchy, but at least Cox had the sense to not bat him 4th,5th, or 6th in the order.

  24. Letting Chipper play last night was clearly a mistake. KJ hits lefties well, so he should’ve been in at 2B, Prado at 3B with Chipper trying to heal his toe on the bench. Would’ve had better offense and defense that way (Chipper couldn’t get to a potential DP-grounder in the 6th that I’m going to blame on his toe).

  25. “Hey, if we fall out of the race, maybe we can trade Soriano and/or Gonzalez for some talented young outfielders.”

    Given the up and down performance of relief pitchers not named Mariano Rivera (see Brad Lidge), this isn’t a bad idea. Someone said this yesterday-Soriano for Swisher…is that in the realm of possibility?

  26. 20–I agree about the position players in Rome–I don’t think any of them a decent chance to make AA much less MLB. The best one is probably 1B Gerry Rodriguez who hit for the cycle yesterday (2nd game of DH); the catcher Schlehuber (sp?) has been terrible at the plate but is list in the top 30 prospects by BA. The first game’s lineup yesterday featured a guy, Chais Fuller, sporting a .143 BA. I guess he’s been on a hot streak b/c he’s up from .122 before last Wednesday’s game.

    The pitching is supposed to be good, but Delgado didn’t have it yesterday. Spruill has had two bad outings in a row.

  27. A peculiarity of the system is that, while they moved Heyward and Freeman up to Myrtle Beach (where they are two of the youngest players in the league) the Rome team is one of the oldest teams in its league.

  28. @12 Cliff,

    Well, as part of how good our farm is, consider that most of the players on our MLB roster actually came up through the farm. In the case of Stenchy and Schaffer, they possibly came up too soon and should still be down there if the front office hadn’t shat the bed.

    The farm system currently doesn’t have MLB players beating down the door to get to the big leagues, but that’s really because the door wasn’t shut and the most MLB ready guys were ushered along so quickly.

    We need the guys who were called up to actually be MLB level players when they get called up, so we don’t have to look to the players who were behind them in the farm. It’s not like we have a veteran laden team and no one ready to step in.

    We have a team full of guys who just got called up within the past 2-3 years, and that’s why we have hardly anyone ready to go. I don’t think we really even have a problem with development, as Johnson and Escobar and McCann have worked out. Stenchy and Schafer were rushed.

    A team with good front office management would be condending for a world series with a $100mil budget and as many above average, young, cheap players as we have.

  29. 28-And I am fine with the strategy of drafting lots of young pitchers on the notion that if you have enough, it will sort out and some will be good enough to get to the MLB level. That strategy just leaves you with some holes at the other 8 positions, which you need to address at some time. Good point on the 1B at Rome who maybe is a decent hitter.

  30. DOB was commenting yesteday about being patient about the outfield thing. But Olnry has good sources, and the Braves SHOULD BE at least talking to people. The other guys may not be to the “cut the deal” stage, but they can listen.

    Also, we are not making a Texeira style trade. It is not happening. We can’t take on salary and we won’t give up young talnet for a contract that is about to expire. So the whole “when they know they are out of it, they will deal” is substantially irrelevant to us.

    We have 4 ways to make a move that are possible.

    1. Salary for salary based on surplus and need matching up with a trading partner.

    2. Young talent for young talent based on surplus and need.

    3. Somebody worthless to us for a bag of balls.

    4. Somebody worthless to his team that is an outfielder and they cover part of a bad contract to take that worthless part into our lower levels of expectation (like say, Nats deal us Kearns and we only pay 2 million of remaining salary).

    There is no magic about those 4 things that would require waiting to the trading deadline.

    The Rangers and Cardinals have surplus outfielders and need pitching (although about a week ago, it suddnely seemed like maybe the Cards don’t need pitching). Cleveland could use pitching, but they are out of it. Beane won’t trade for our pitchers and he is better set with pitchers than position players anyway.

    Make some calls Wren.

  31. We have two players between AA and AAA who have hit more than 4 homeruns. They are Brooks Conrad and Barbaro Canizares with 7 HRs each. They’re both approaching 30 years old. Conrad’s numbers are not very impressive other than HRs and Canizares is a defensive liability from what I’ve heard. Neither is on the 40 man roster, but we have only 39 players on the roster and this includes Hudson.

    If we can get an impact right fielder (Choo is a good choice), why not bring up Canizares? Can his defense in left really cost us that much more than Francoeur’s lack of offense? An OF of Diaz in right, Schafer and Canizares would be trouble on defense, but still a net gain from our current crew of stooges. Let them “hold down the fort” until we can pull the trigger on getting a decent right fielder.

  32. td,

    Many people on this site regularly have seen Barbaro and he is not even adequate to play 1B. Think, a lesser version of the late career version of the leftfielder for the 1993 Phillies (can’t remember his name, but he could left mash, but he was awful on range).

  33. by the way, it sure looks as if the astros are going to be sellers. I do not know whether Lance Berkman will agree to be traded (he is from Houston and went to school at Rice, in Houston), and i would guess that no one will take on Lee’s salary, but they have some other nice things to offer, so we may have some competition in any effort to go young and move some vets. Berkman to Boston for young pitching would be a natural, though.

  34. And why is everybody talking about bringing somebody up or trading for somebody for left field? Before the season and before Diaz started showing his knee was o.k., that made a lot of sense. Not now.

    Fair chance Ganderson can meet his 3 year average hitting the rest of the year. Fair chance he doesn’t. Diaz can make ML average in offense as an everyday player, better in platoon, and can cover more ground than almost any bat we are likely to get.

    We need to make our upgrade where an upgrade is needed worst, as our FIRST step. That is right field. If we went from Frenchy to typical Swisher or typical Willingham we are picking up 150 to 250 OPS points. If we got Kearns, we are adding 150 ops points.

    THEN, the NEXT position for upgrade is center, NOT left. If we pick up Swisher first, he can play center against lefties and right against righties. Then, we are picking up almost 150 ops points at 2 positions every game. And that would equal 40 points over the lineup which would raise runs scored by a good percentage (I can’t calculate it, but it is much more than point for point. As in a 700 ops club scores like 600 runs and an 800 ops club scores like 800 runs. So, 40 points added between normal bad and normal good adds way more than 6 percent to runs scored. More like 10% to 12% and that is enough to put this team in contention).

    Also, Edmunds could be used like Swisher. He could play left against righhanders and center against left handers some.

    These are moves that can be made that don’t “blow up the house.”

  35. Why is he still in our system then? It seems like an AL club would at least have some use for him. It’s really sad when you only have two players in the upper minors with any power at all and neither has a chance to make it to the big leagues with the Braves. Given all the PT that Norton has been given this year, Canizares could at least do what Norton is doing and could probably be a little better at it.

  36. @36,

    I doubt the Astros will be sellers no matter how badly they are playing now. They didn’t sell last year when they were struggling and the owner is unwilling to admit the team is not good enough to win. I would bet they won’t sell.

  37. Cliff – Edmunds or Swisher for CF and RF would make a lot of sense, but I haven’t been assuming that either is available now. My thought is to move Diaz to right as a stopgap until we can make a higher impact trade for a rightfielder or centerfielder. I really think that Francoeur needs to go soon and I don’t expect to get much from him. Maybe we can make two moves in one week, but I don’t think that will happen. I still think Jeff Bailey from the Red Sox could be a pretty good fit for the first move.

  38. td,

    Gadfly is partly right about Diaz in right field. That is, he can cover the ground, but he has an inadequate arm. For left he is better arm than the famous noodle arms like Pierre and Damon. but for throws to home or from right to third, he doesn’t have it.

    So, the “pre move move” is Diaz plays everyday. Right field against righthanders (that raises you from 600 to 780 or so) and left field against left handers (that raises you from 750 or so, wishful, to 900). And Francoeur is 200 point better against lefties, and Ganderson is 50 or so better against righties. So, the offensive boost is tremendous.

    Edmunds SHOULD be available. He seemed to want to play. He may have his behind on his shoulders about contract amount or playing time guarantees.

    But this OUGHT to be fair to him.

    1,000,000 signing bonus, minor league contract. Be available to play 40 games at AAA and then at his option, he can opt out if not on ML roster then or any later time on 24 hours notice to Braves.

    If activated, he gets a 3 million contract, prorated. Incentives if plate appearances over 3 per game on roster.

    I think in 3 weeks of AAA, we will know if he still has it. From what I saw last year with the Cubs, I think he can 700 against lefhanders and 900 against right handers and play better defense in right than Frenchy (total of range and throwing). I agree that Edmunds over Schafer might not add much, but he gives us somebody other than Schafer that can play there once and a while without looking horrible which we do not now have above AA.

  39. td,

    As to Swisher being available now, I think Nady is starting minor league rehab. In a couple of weeks, Yankees have to make a decision. The fans like Melky, he’s hitting o.k., and he is a little better fielding center fielder. And Melky wouldn’t be a terrible pick up.

    Nady could be the guy made available and he would be a good pickup, although he is almost as righty susceptible as Francoeur or Diaz, but just at higher levels than Francouer, more like Diaz (like 750 / 900). An advantage of Nady is, after this year, he is out of contract. So, arb offer and draft picks might be doable and Nady wouldn’t block Heyward.

  40. Nady would be a okay pickup, but his elbow is an issue and I doubt can play LF. The Yanks want him to DH

    I think the Braves should go after Willingham now and try to get a Derosa or someone in another couple of weeks. neither player will cost top prospects but will make this team better. Cameron could be a good pickup also Cruz, or Andruw would be too

  41. Melky would be an upgrade, but I’d be wary. Yes, he’s been more patient this year, but his power surge has more to do with the RF Yankee Stadium wind tunnel than anything else.

    If I’m the Yanks, I keep him & try to dump Nady.

  42. When Infante returns, what about Diory and Stenchy for Jose Guillen with the Royals kicking in the difference between Frenchy and JoGui’s salaries for this year.

  43. Will marginal upgrades to the outfield really improve this team that much? Maybe, but I think they need a bonafide power hitter/run producer in at least one outfield position, because we really don’t have one from the other positions except Mac, and he misses 20% of the games. Having a true cleanup hitter would also allow for Chipper and Mac to see better pitches.

    The problem with this is we would have to trade a top prospect to get a player of this calibre, and I doubt we could afford them anyway. Maybe Wren makes a minor move and it keeps us in contention, but if we are around .500 in a month it will be time to sell and position the team for next year.

  44. Melky’s been great this year. He’s been working counts like I’ve never seen and, as long he’s playing in this crazy new Bronx stadium, he’ll put up good numbers.

  45. Prediction: Medlen strings together three or for solid starts and in late June the Braves get Brad Hawpe for Medlen, Cody Johnson, Francoeur and another low A arm. It seems a high price but at least Hawpe agrees not to void the final year of his contract. The Braves balance the lineup by sending Schafer down and bringing up the righthanded Gorkys. Hanson slides into Medlen’s rotation spot. Gorkys has a hot start, providing a spark at the bottom of the lineup and playing defense like a young Andruw. Hanson dominates and Hawpe is booed by teenage girls (and Superfly) but provides solid production. And the good KJ appears for a torrid three weeks in July. Attendance spikes as the Braves close to within a half game of the division lead by early August, despite the Phillies acquiring a once again dominant Jake Peavy, while the Mets acquire Nick Johnson from the Nationals and Erik Bedard from the Mariners. With Hudson virtually unhittable in his rehab starts and poised to push Kawakami to the bullpen (Glavine retired in June), the mood on BravesJournal is euphoric. Then Chipper goes on the DL, opposing pitchers find the holes in Gorkys’ swing, KJ swoons, Hanson begins to tire and struggles with his control, and the Braves bunt their way to the finish line 6 games back.

  46. Hanan at 51,

    The Swisher move alone with him playing right against righthanders and center against lefthanders, with no other moves, probably adds 30 runs and 3 wins the rest of the way out as compared to where we are now. Edmunds probably 20 runs and 2 wins, if he was ready to go today, but he isn’t. The team has played 500 so far and an upgrade makes them a little better. With Swisher I think that gets them to a good shot at 85.

    From there, the only things to move them further would be (1) health improving (we are 500 and have missed Mc and Chipper each for about 1/3 of games), (2) a second outfield move which could add 2 games more wins, (3) a “Hanson impact” or similar from Medlen or Kawakami or Morton or maybe even Hudson (somebody we aren’t counting on to be good, and their “goodness” hasn’t contributed to the start, and they have potential to produce something well better than the production they might replace). I can see Medlen, Morton, and Hudson all potentially contributing this by taking out Carlyle and Bennett at the back of the pen.

    I DON’T see Hudson starting this year.

  47. At least we’re playing another hitless wonder team tonight. Looking at the pitching matchup, you’d think we will see a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard.

    The Braves are going to have to put somebody on the DL to get another position player up like Conrad, aren’t they? I doubt either Chipper or Yunel can answer the bell tonight.

  48. Melky looks like he is enjoying a statistical outlier.

    DOB’s blog says it all. We are too early in the season to expect an impact bat to hit the trade market.

    Since beyond all reason Bobby won’t put Francouer on the bench, we are stuck with him. C’mon Frenchy get some damn RPs already!

    Can anyone come up with a logical reason why the Red Sox want Stenchy? The only thing that has me thinking that the story has any legs at all is the Wren no comment to DOB.

  49. “Can anyone come up with a logical reason why the Red Sox want Stenchy?”

    Someone somewhere else said the red sox were just advance scouting the Braves (whom they play soon) and the Blue Jays (whom they will play soon, too); just some advance scouting going on. That is a much more logical explanation than they want Frenchie; he really is the opposite type of player than what they pull into that franchise.

    I personally think Frank Wren saw someone in the stands with a Red Sox hat on and got all excited.

  50. #53–Its fun to have a look into the crystal ball…

    I don’t think that the Braves will trade Cody Johnson–at least not without a bigger payoff.

    Staying with the thread, trading Flowers and Gilmore (even if he is not doing particularly well) cost more than may be realized. These were good trades, but the Braves no longer have much of a surplus of position player prospects. This is especially true in the lower minors. Since this looks to be a weak draft, I don’t think that this will change anytime soon. At least they lots of quality arms…..

  51. “Staying with the thread, trading Flowers and Gilmore (even if he is not doing particularly well) cost more than may be realized.”

    Vazquez has been great, but what bugged me about this trade is it had to be about this year and next, because by 2011, when the Hayward, Freeman, Johnson, Flowers, Hernandez group was MLB ready, Vazquez is a free agent. So we gave up value for post 2011 for 2009 and 2010, for what? To contend? Then do so, by having an OF that can hit a lick. This middle ground of getting a little better but not good enough to contend makes no sense to me; what IS the Frank Wren plan.

    I understand that he couldn’t build the rotation and the OF in one season, so does that mean he can keep the entire rotation together next year, and rebuild the outfield? With what?

  52. The thing was that there’s no place for Flowers to play in that unit. McCann will still be the catcher, and theoretically Freeman will be the first baseman.

  53. Eh, I’ll be surprised if the Vazquez trade costs the Braves anything more than his salary.

  54. ACHE – $2.5MM
    Francoeur – $3.375MM(!!)
    Glavine – $1.0MM (potential $3.5MM)

    Just in those players, we have $6.875MM tied up (potentially $9.375).

    That higher number would have been enough to net Adam Dunn, who currently has 16 HR, 42 RBI, 39 BB, 1.026 OPS+ and 50 K, which is 7 less than Windmill!

  55. bfan @ 57,

    The Red Sox would probably only want Francoeur if they gave us nothing. They might be willing to take on 2/3 to 1/2 of the salary because they don’t believe their upper minors guys woudl be any better and they are afraid they will be looking for an outfielder.

    IF Francoeur was a right handed platoon RF, he actually has value. Probably not enough to justify 3.3 million, but probably at least 1.5.

  56. Jayson Stark on Smoltz:

    The Smoltz watch: Scouts who have seen John Smoltz’s rehab starts report that he’s showing the effects of his shoulder surgery, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make an impact on the Red Sox in the second half.

    “He’s not as free and easy as he used to be,” one scout said. “He’s got to force and push more than he used to. And his velocity is 86 to 91 [mph] on the fastball, and 81-82-83 on the slider. But he still has command. He still has the will. And he still shows you he can make the big pitch when he has to. So he’s probably more like a fourth starter than a No. 1. But he’s a guy who could give them some good outings down the road.”

    And on the OF:

    Brave old world: You can add the Braves to the list of teams with interest in their old buddy, Mark DeRosa. Cleveland wants pitching back, and the Braves are one club with a pitching surplus. But teams that have spoken with Atlanta say the Braves’ entire prospective rotation (including Tommy Hanson) is off-limits. And they would want a significant return for Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton or Kris Medlen.
    The Braves would obviously talk about dealing young arms for an impact bat, a la Matt Holliday. But they’ve been telling clubs that if they give up young players for any hitter with a hefty paycheck, they would expect the team they’re dealing with to pick up a major chunk of the salary.

    As for those reports that the Braves are looking to move Jeff Francoeur, clubs we’ve talked to say they’re mostly listening, in part because they need to add bats, not subtract them, and in part because no one is too sure of Francoeur’s true value anymore, including the Braves themselves.

  57. 63 — But, his feelings would get hurt if they used him in a platoon!!!!111

    Glavine with 3 scoreless innings so far, 3 hits and 2 Ks.

  58. They want a significant return for Reyes? Well that pretty much explains the Francoeur situation. The Braves have no clue how to evaluate their own players.

  59. Jo Jo may or may not have more value in a package deal, but I’d trade him for DeRosa straight-up right now—somehow allowing for DeRo’s $4.7 M salary, of course.

  60. Hey, -insert team here- , I’ll trade you this moldy PB & J, along with this STD called Francoeur but only if you give me that carton of Baskin Robbins ice cream in return! Whaddya say?

  61. Jo Jo—hey, he’s a lefty—will get traded somewhere to some team that thinks they can turn him into chicken salad.

  62. Jo-Jo Reyes was very successful at the AAA level and I haven’t seen enough of him in MLB to assume he cannot, with experience, be successful in MLB. Look at 300 game winner Tom Glavine’s 1st 4 MLB years-ERAs of 5.54; 4.86; 3.68; and 4.28. After those 4 years, you would assume he would be maybe an okay starter. For many pitchers, it takes some time.

  63. I don’t understand this “they need to add bats not subtract them.” He must mean literally, Jeff’s baseball bats. Due to falling attendence, the Braves can no longer afford to buy baseball bats, so they need to add as many as they can. If they traded Frenchy, he would take his bats with him. And since his bats never make contact, they are in good condition and could last awhile. Jordan Schaefer is another guy lending his efforts to the Braves cost containment efforts; his baseball bats never wear out.

  64. BTW, Marc, thanks for reminding me about Ball Four. I’m in the middle of re-reading it and it’s just as hysterical as it was the first time 20+ years ago.

    And it’s just amazing how Neanderthal baseball was back then.

  65. @72 maybe they mean the kind of bats that bite you and suck your blood. Great Bob Uecker line about how bat day would be more fun it they used ‘real bats’.

    I’d trade for DeRosa. He isn’t going to power us to the playoffs but he won’t suck us back to below .500 either. Heck I wanted to keep him way back when the Braves let him go. Yeah Bfan I know what you mean. Jo Jo has had some success in AAA and he is a lefty, but I think I’d trade him straight up for DeRo.

  66. ububba,

    I sent my copy of ‘Ball Four’ to Bouton and he signed it for me. He put

    “To Billy, Pound some Budwiser, Jim Bouton”

  67. @73,

    ububba,

    Yeah, it’s a great book. (I liked his other books as well, especially “I’m Glad You Didn’t Take it Personally”, which is hilarious). It would be interesting for a current player to write a similar book. It would probably be quite different considering the differences in players’ position vis a viz management then and today. Anyone that thinks players have too much power should read Ball Four. Those GMs in the book would probably have had a stroke if they had to deal with Scott Boras. Also, his comments about greenies should say something to anyone that wants to talk about how pure the players of yesteryear were.

    One thing that I remember from Ball Four and that struck me in thinking about Bobby Cox was Bouton’s comments about how the players loved Ralph Houk because he would blow smoke up their ass about how good they were. Bobby learned under Houk and you can see it in his style. The problem is, that technique seems to work better with teams that really are good (early 60s Yankees, 90s Braves); perhaps it’s not so effective with teams that are less talented (post-1964 Yankees, current Braves).

    @74,

    I thought Franceour was already sucking our blood–or maybe that’s just the life he is sucking out of the Braves.

  68. DeRosa has more homeruns than our ENTIRE FOUR-MAN outfield.

    Dunn has TWICE as many homeruns as our ENTIRE FOUR-MAN outfield.

    Shouting? Yes, dear, I am shouting.

  69. That’s classic, Smitty. The Joe Schultz stuff in there is just too much.

    Marc,
    Yep, the whole dynamic of the game has changed, way to the other side. But between Ball Four and the Ken Burns PBS doc, there are just so many stories about the stupidity & cheapness of owners/GMs that you know that this game has got to be great to survive all that.

    (On that note, here’s an interesting column from Michael Shapiro today, discussing the history of baseball’s anti-trust exemption. The headline makes it seem political, but it’s really not. http://tinyurl.com/oq8vrx)

    And yes, the way Bouton discusses Houk (and Bob Lemon, who managed him in Vancouver) definitely makes you understand why guys love to play for Bobby. Houk didn’t even care if you missed signs—of course, when you’ve got Mantle & Co., that makes up for a lotta sins.

  70. I’d be glad to see Derosa come back, but not if we had to give up too much for him. He’s not as good as he looked last year.

    And while I was sorry to see him go, I never blamed the Braves for not wanting to offer him the kind of money that Texas did.

  71. Ububba,

    As an antitrust lawyer myself, I find Shapiro’s argument a bit confusing. While I agree that the antitrust exemption for baseball is stupid, based on bizaare logic, and caused great harm to the players, it’s not clear to me how the absence of the exemption helped the other sports. Many of the actions by the NFL and later the NFL/AFL actually were violations of antitrust laws and required congressional exemptions; the NFL’s adoption of a single negotiation package in the 50s was clearly a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. And the AFL/NFL merger itself was a violation and required congressional action. And the NBA players association sued to stop the ABA/NBA merger. In fact, the draft–whether football, baseball, or basketball-is essentially a restraint of trade and is legal only because it is included in collective bargaining. (That isn’t true in baseball, which has the antitrust exemption.)

    In fact, the things Shapiro seems to extoll are really restraints of trade that were ratified either by Congress or through collective bargaining. For example, the revenue sharing proposed by Branch Rickey that Shapiro extolls, would be an antitrust violation absent the antitrust exemption. There are tons of things in the NFL and NBA that would not pass antitrust muster in a normal business. For example, I think the NFL TV blackout rule is a blatant antitrust violation. And it’s hard for me to see how the NFL justifies non-guaranteed contracts. In most contexts, a contract is a contract; you can’t abrogate it just because you don’t like the quality of the work or the product.

    Maybe I’m reading the article wrong, but it doesn’t really make sense to me.

  72. I wouldn’t pretend to know the facts of all the legal decisions that have impacted sports in the past 90 years, but I think the main point Shapiro makes about the other leagues (perhaps awkwardly & incompletely) is that football was proactive in solidifying its long-term stability & competitive balance (e.g.–sharing the TV money).

    Meanwhile, baseball was lucky (help from SCOTUS & congress), while still being stupid (not really sharing revenues, not getting ahead of the idea of impending free agency).

    I don’t necessarily agree with Shapiro that all of baseball’s bad business decisions helped make football more popular—TV did that—but I still think it’s instructive to occasionally re-visit the reasons behind the making of this very weird business model we have in MLB.

  73. DeRosa’s power would definitely be a plus for us, but isn’t he defensively pretty similar to Infante/ Prado/ Hernandez/ Norton? I know he could be a help with Infante out, but after Infante gets back, what positions can he play in the OF. Can he play any of them well?

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